Group wants to revitalize 'historic' Minneapolis block destroyed in blaze

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A community group whose headquarters were destroyed in a suspected arson attack earlier in April has raised enough money to buy its property back.

The office of Minnesota Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) was one of several commercial and residential units destroyed in the blaze on West Broadway Avenue in north Minneapolis – with forensic teams later finding the fire may have been started deliberately.

The building's owner had given the organization the opportunity to buy back the land at 911 West Broadway for $25,000, prompting a fundraising drive that this week reached its target.

"Thanks so much for all your support!" it said on its website. "We've hit our initial goal of $25,000. Help us keep the momentum going and make sure we have the resources required for closing costs and legal fees! We can do this!"

The NOC, a grassroots organization campaigning for underprivileged communities in the Twin Cities, has said buying back the land and the shell of its former offices is part of its plans to "reshape ... this historic block in north Minneapolis," creating a "permanent space for us to grow, dream, build, and organize."

It claims that "big developers" and "disaster capitalists" had shown an interest in buying up the block, which it describes as "prime land on a vibrant commercial corridor."

A favorable relationship with the landowner, however, gave the NOC the chance to buy the land themselves.

Authorities continue to investigate the April fire, with a press conference held last month revealing that a terpene – an ignitable substance – had been discovered by fire investigators following a study of the scene.

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