V3 Center Already a Hub of Activity, and Positivity, Long Before Construction Crews Break Ground

Perhaps you’ve heard the old adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” This is especially true if we’re talking about a 70,000 square foot building where thousands of books were assembled for decades. The old Muscle Bound Bindery at Lyndale and Plymouth Avenue, the future home of the V3 Center, is currently a beehive of activity, creating an immeasurable impact on the Minneapolis communities and neighborhoods it’s already serving.

“Rather than sit idle, we wanted to begin to extend out into the community while we were raising money for the V3 Center. So we partnered with tenants with similar missions like Youth and Families Determined to Succeed and Maximum Impact,” V3 Coach, Executive Director, and founder Erika L. Binger remarked.

On a Friday afternoon in late December, dozens of people were in the former bindery building. 

Accent Store Fixtures occupies a large portion of the northside of the building. It has become a place where business owners rebuilding on Broadway Avenue or Lake Street following June’s civil unrest in Minneapolis, can find the display cases, mannequins, and shelves they need to welcome customers back to their storefronts.

“It’s completely different than what it was two years ago. Wow, to really see it start to come to life is crazy to me!” former V3 athlete and current V3 board member Isaac De Souza said as he toured the building, walking by a pair of community-based, home health care agencies.

There were teens with The Sanneh Foundation packing produce and meals for families and children taking advantage of free wifi that enables distance learning. Weightlifting equipment and treadmills were ready for athletes to stop in for a quick workout, as organizations geared towards helping children reach personal and athletic goals also occupy the massive warehouse. Tenants represent a broad range of sports, from tennis to track and field, and from lacrosse to soccer. 

For Binger, De Souza, and V3 Board Chair Sherman Patterson, it was inspiring to see the impact the tenants were having on so many lives. The V3 vision of providing access, opportunity, and equity played itself out in the smiles on young faces and the hard work of volunteers. 

“We really have a multitude of groups and organizations who are committed to being right here in North Minneapolis and serving people by helping youth and adult community members, whether it’s through teaching reading and learning skills or providing health-based education and opportunities,” Patterson explained.

But once De Souza cracked open a door on the east side of the building, taking in the skyline of Minneapolis accented by a golden light, the minds of all three V3 leaders began to wander. The east wall of the V3 Center will offer a massive window to the world—one where athletes and visitors can take in the breathtaking views of the downtown skyscrapers, but also one where people from the outside will be able to see into the 50-meter pool that will be used to select the best swimmers representing the US in the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“It’s going to look so nice. It’s really going to be surreal to see it when it’s here,” he said. “It’s also going to be great from the other side of it. If you face this way, we’ll be drawing them in. They’ll say ‘what’s that place?’ and they’ll want to come to see what the Center is all about. They’ll want to get involved with V3.”

Isaac is just one of dozens of V3 alumni athletes and college graduates who have been drawn back to the organization to help make the V3 Center dream become a reality. 

Once you see what the new building will look like, it’s hard not to start daydreaming a little bit. The two-level, 96,000 square foot facility will be an aesthetically pleasing, architectural marvel befitting of the community it will serve and the dreams it will inspire. Visible from both Interstate 94 and Downtown Minneapolis, the trapezoid-shaped structure of glass, surrounded by angled, modern steel beams will create an unexpected destination uplifting young athletes, Northside families, and aspiring entrepreneurs.

The south and west corners are where crews will begin breaking ground. Thanks to a recent, $4 million donation, phase one construction of the V3 Center will likely start in the fall of 2021. “Our renderings show these brick walls will be cut open to allow light in, so there will be windows here. You’ll have natural light coming into the instructional pool and you’ll be able to see the City as well,” Binger explained.

Currently, the 25-yard instructional pool sits in a storage room, wrapped in plastic and stored in cardboard boxes, waiting to be assembled. The storage room is tucked behind the north wall of the building, which will be redeveloped into a large community room and retail space during phase two of the project. It’ll be a place where North Minneapolis entrepreneurs can test their models, grow their businesses and then move out into the community, making way for the next success story. Binger calls it a “business incubator.”

“It’ll inspire people in the community who want to start a business. I think it’ll be that extra push where people will say ‘Oh, I can do this, and here’s an outlet that’s able to help me reach my dream of what I’m trying to do.’ And the location is also an attraction for people to want to visit and see what these businesses are all about,” De Souza said with pride.

Isaac is just one of dozens of V3 alumni athletes and college graduates who have been drawn back to the organization to help make the V3 Center dream become a reality. 

Once you see what the new building will look like, it’s hard not to start daydreaming a little bit. The two-level, 96,000 square foot facility will be an aesthetically pleasing, architectural marvel befitting of the community it will serve and the dreams it will inspire. Visible from both Interstate 94 and Downtown Minneapolis, the trapezoid-shaped structure of glass, surrounded by angled, modern steel beams will create an unexpected destination uplifting young athletes, Northside families, and aspiring entrepreneurs.

The south and west corners are where crews will begin breaking ground. Thanks to a recent, $4 million donation, phase one construction of the V3 Center will likely start in the fall of 2021. “Our renderings show these brick walls will be cut open to allow light in, so there will be windows here. You’ll have natural light coming into the teaching pool and you’ll be able to see the City as well,” Binger explained.

Currently, the 25-yard teaching pool sits in a storage room, wrapped in plastic and stored in cardboard boxes, waiting to be assembled. The storage room is tucked behind the north wall of the building, which will be redeveloped into a large community room and retail space during phase two of the project. It’ll be a place where North Minneapolis entrepreneurs can test their models, grow their businesses and then move out into the community, making way for the next success story. Binger calls it a “business incubator.”

“It’ll inspire people in the community who want to start a business. I think it’ll be that extra push where people will say ‘Oh, I can do this, and here’s an outlet that’s able to help me reach my dream of what I’m trying to do.’ And the location is also an attraction for people to want to visit and see what these businesses are all about,” De Souza said with pride.

Renderings and animation show the retail space on the outside, looking at the area from Plymouth Avenue, beneath the aforementioned steel beams and glass façade. On the inside, the spaces imagined for the circulation area, gym and fitness space, multi-purpose court, cycling hall, running track, deck overlook, and community hall complete the vision and push the organization forward with fundraising. 

As 2021 begins, hope turns to optimism. Kick-started by an anonymous donation, a dream is turning into reality. “I get goosebumps. When I think about it, I know that the center is going to be built. But to know that other people truly believe in it and realize the importance of a place like this, that’s really exciting. It’s amazing because this year we’ve had so many challenges for so many people on multiple levels. To be able to go into a new year with this hope and excitement can really reenergize everybody,” Binger concluded.

While the story is still being written, the V3 Center will still be a book you can’t judge by its cover. Even though it’ll have an amazing cover (the building façade), what will be on the inside will be even greater!

Help us make the Center a reality by donating today.

Note: Images and animations of the V3 Center are renderings to be viewed as a guide of what the V3 Center could look like.

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