A North Minneapolis resident is renovating another abandoned building, this time for a restaurant

Once upon a time Super America, building on Lowry Avenue N. sat abandoned for more than a decade.

Now Chris Webley, a north Minneapolis business owner and developer, is leading a stylish $1.3 million renovation that will bring Tap In, a local food-focused restaurant and cocktail bar, this fall. The building will also feature an artist incubator space and solar garden.

Webley is the founder of co-working space New Rules and other businesses at 2015 Lowry Av. N., just down the block from his newest building. A former textile engineer, he designed to meet the needs of tenants and neighbors who wanted to be part of an emerging, innovative North Country.

“We’re getting the community involved in the plan and the enterprise,” said Webley, who also lives on the North Side. “We use empathy to solve problems. I am also a Six Sigma trained textile engineer working on efficiency and processes. I invest and attract patient capital.”

This is a promising time for the area. The W. Broadway and Lowry commercial corridors have more than $150 million in recent and planned multifamily housing, food, healthcare, arts and other businesses.

Webley, 35, prides himself on “development without displacement” in the city’s most diverse, low-income quadrant. New Rules Enterprises seeks to connect artists and small businesses with the space and resources needed to grow “reproducible ecosystems and sustainable economic growth solutions for black and brown communities.”

“We established trust and relationships in the community,” said Webley, who also served as a YMCA board member and youth mentor. “New 2014 rules model new behavior.”

Webley bankrolled New Rules with about $650,000 in proceeds he earned from the sale of several buildings in Columbus, Ohio. He invested in his first projects in the city while working in textiles at Victoria’s Secret headquarters.

Webley moved to Minneapolis to join Target in 2012. He was laid off with hundreds of others in Minneapolis during a 2014 layoff.

Webley, good with a hammer, also helped remodel New Rules’ headquarters and co-working space at 2015 Lowry. Includes second floor apartments just a few blocks from the Tap In complex. Webley has also redeveloped an apartment building with affordable housing and several smaller properties.

North Side redevelopment has been hampered by absentee landlords who typically demand a premium for undervalued properties. Most have resisted reinvestment since the 1960s, leading to the area’s neglect.

Kimberly Caprini, a north Minneapolis resident who works and lives with her family near the Lowry Avenue complexes in Webley, called him a man of vision and wisdom.

“He’s a breath of fresh air that attracts other community-driven young people,” said Caprini, also a member of the Minneapolis school board. “He’s about how he and others can build community business and build wealth. … He’s one of the pieces of the North Side redevelopment puzzle that is being put together methodically and deliberately.”

Jim Terrell, a 40-year-old banker and economic development manager for the city, has raised a multimillion-dollar redevelopment fund that helps local business owners — in addition to their own equity — fill the gaps between what banks will provide loans for low prices property value and construction costs and the cost of their rejuvenation.

From that fund, Webley received an interest-free loan of $300,000 for the Tap In project, which will not need to be repaid as long as he retains ownership of the property.

“The typical Northside project has a 20 or 25 percent spread based on the debt [a new owner] can service and rents they can charge,” Terrell said. “And it costs the same to renovate a building as it does in the North Loop and downtown. You cannot charge the same rent. And Chris … wants rents to be affordable.”

Terrell said the secondary real estate loan allows local owner-operators like Webley to charge lower rents to local entrepreneurs looking for space for their businesses.

“Chris has a passion and drive to get the job done,” Terrell said. “He also listens to advice. It’s also a pleasure to work with a young person who knows a lot but knows he doesn’t know everything.”

Webley is also part of the growing North Side “Black Excellence” movement through a myriad of businesses from barbershops to retail, construction and hospitality. They are inclusive in their approach to building a local economy around local dollars spent in local businesses.

“We intend to change the landscape and give back to the community,” Webley said. “It’s been an extractive economy for too long.”

Webley and many other residents are working toward a “better for more” community that deserves the spotlight as much as crime stories.

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