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Nokomis Square Cooperative History

Senior Housing Cooperative, South Minneapolis

In 1976, three members of Nokomis Lutheran Church became concerned about the lack of senior housing in the neighborhood. When the time came for individuals to move from their homes they also had to move away from their long-time neighborhood. The Church formed a committee and discussed converting the Nokomis Junior High School building into senior apartments.

Remodeling the 60 year old building proved to be more expensive than new construction on the same property. A non-profit corporation, Lake Nokomis Homes, Inc., was established in 1978. Attorneys, builders, and architects came together and developed plans for a 208 unit housing cooperative.

From the beginning, the project was very much a neighborhood endeavor. Committed buyers, a loan from a local bank, along with front-end financing from GMMHC, made the dream possible. A cooperative was an appealing concept that never would have moved past the planning stage had it not been for the enthusiastic support of the Nokomis Community. The initial loan was co-signed by twenty area businesses and twenty individuals!

Bor-Son Construction became the general contractors.

“It is my belief that this project succeeded in this neighborhood through the outright determination of the people backing Nokomis Square.” – Don Jacobson, Bor-Son

The neighborhood dream took over 10 years to complete:

1970’s: Need for senior housing in Nokomis Area identified
1978: Lake Nokomis Homes, Inc. created with leadership of Kermit Norquist – funds raised and invested to build senior housing on Nokomis Jr. High site.
1982: Nokomis Jr. High demolished. Millie Starr and Patience Swanson represent The Realty Management Co. and begin selling memberships from a mobile home at 35th & 50th street
1983: Groundbreaking, October 22, 1983
1984: First residents move into north wing in October
1985: South wing completed, laundry rooms opened First meal served in dining room February 24, 1985
1986: Official dedication – January 8, 1986