City to buy abandoned gas station at George Floyd Square

The Star Tribune reported last week that the City of Minneapolis is planning to buy the site of the abandoned Speedway gas station at George Floyd Square with the intention of turning the location into a “national racial justice healing center.” 

My colleague David Zimmer and I drove through George Floyd Square (38th St. and Chicago Ave. in south Minneapolis) this summer and took this short video. The abandoned gas station can be seen near the end.

The Star Tribune reports that the proposal met with mixed reactions from a recent community meeting,

Some saw it as an opportunity for a needed face-lift of the economically depressed area at 38th and Chicago. Others chafed at the notion of the city changing an organically grown memorial and active protest site.

This seems to be the trend with “problem” properties in the city: purchase by a nonprofit or government entity. The retail business ends, the property is off the tax rolls, but it no longer serves as a magnet for criminal activity.

The Speedway in question was the scene of horrific events back in March, as the Star Tribune mentions,

In March, a 45-year-old man was found dead, his body allegedly lit on fire, inside the former gas station. 

As you would guess, there is more to the story. Three or four men were in the abandoned gas station that night, one may or may not have been a kidnapping victim. The fatality died of a fentanyl overdose, in media res, and the fire was an attempt at a makeshift Viking funeral, without the boat.

In north Minneapolis, the Real Believers Faith Center has purchased another problem gas station on West Broadway, but not the station you are thinking of. This one is the Marathon station on Fremont.

The one you are thinking of, Winner Gas, is three blocks away on Broadway. Winner Gas, along with the adjacent Merwin Liquors, are the subject of an investigation by state attorney general Keith Ellison under a “public nuisance” theory.

The church next to Merwin Liquors has been trying to buy the building for some time, with the business looking to relocate.

It’s not clear that this approach does anything other than shift the pieces around the board.