Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Brooklyn Park-Target Headquarters CBA campaign

Target Corporation is planning a new world headquarters to be located in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, a suburb located north of Minneapolis. The proposed development will cost around $1.75 billion and cover 340 acres. The plan is to develop a new city center, 3,000 new housing units, a library, public green space, and a retail, office and entertainment complex. The development is expected to create up to 30,000 new jobs, and it will be so large that it has been dubbed "a third downtown" for the Twin Cities.

Residents of Brooklyn Park have been working to ensure that they benefit from the new jobs and housing. In the fall of 2004, Brooklyn Park residents had campaigned to stop the city from demolishing affordable housing in the city, and the African American Action Committee (AAAC), which led that campaign (and won), is now heading up the effort for a CBA.  
Target is receiving $20 million in subsidies from the city, and it may receive more from the county. It has also received a waiver from the city's policy of holding publicly subsidized developments to higher wage requirements--a waiver that conflicts with the goal of CBAs to improve job quality and choice for local residents. As explained by a former board chair of AAAC, "Target has negotiated with our city government for $20 million in tax abatements--that public subsidy should come with some accountability, some benefits for those who are working hard to make a living and struggling to make it in our community."

The coalition supporting a CBA has now expanded to include a number of groups representing community-based, faith, economic and racial justice groups, and it goes by the name of Building Our Community Coalition (BOCC). BOCC has been working with the city, county, Target and the major developer to identify positive outcomes that can be secured from the development. So far, Target has agreed to build 600 units of affordable housing, and the coalition has partnered with community groups and area organizations to develop a workforce-development and training program. BOCC is still working to negotiate a full CBA with Target--it is leveraging the possibility of county subsidies to push for an agreement.

For more information about the African American Action Committee and the BOCC CBA campaign, see this report from the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability. A presentation from BOCC is also available here.

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