Amazon Moves Elsewhere, but Minneapolis Business Development Continues

Posted by Kris Lindahl on Thursday, December 13th, 2018 at 10:34am.

Minneapolis Development Projects Continue ApaceEven though Minneapolis was never considered a top contender in Amazon's city search for its HQ2, some analysts early in the year viewed the city's early elimination from the competition as a snub, and commented wryly on the city's status as "a clear loser." Former Shakapee Mayor Brad Tabke spoke out about the need for a new focus on housing and transit issues, adding that the local labor force (or lack of one) may also have been a factor in the city's early dismissal from Amazon consideration.

The face of development in Minneapolis may be unique, with a heavy focus on renovation, and on mixed-use redevelopment. Here's a quick overview:

Minneapolis: Moving Beyond Amazon Dreams

Now that Amazon's choice has been announced, it is fair to say that a lot of people were surprised by the split decision of two East Coast winners. New surprises continue to be unveiled, including the merchandising giant's announcement that Nashville would be a "consolation prize winner" with the establishment of a new fulfillment center. It will create 5,000 new jobs in the city and is called the largest growth promise Tennessee has ever been awarded.

So, what about Minneapolis? It seems the early Amazon snub didn't spell bad news at all!

Job growth and development stats since 2017 show the city might not even have paused to reflect on the loss of Amazon's second mega headquarters. Although much of the scheduled new development was planned even earlier, newer projects continue to be unveiled, proving that the city is on track to grow in nearly all areas of commercial development. And much of it is in the hotel and housing sectors.

Hotels Rooms on the Rise

Rand Tower Conversion

The planned $60 million renovation of the 1929 downtown building was announced early in the year. Maven Real Estate Partners plans a boutique hotel that will rely on federal and local historic tax credits to breathe new life into an iconic building. A new lobby and meeting rooms will occupy the main floor, and a restaurant and bar are slated for the remodeled 5th floor. Plans call for keeping existing skyway tenants, and an addition and patio are planned for an annex portion of the building.

Eliott Park Hotel

Now open on S. 5th St., this unique Danish "hygge-style" hotel reflects a modern sensibility that encompasses comfort of all forms. Adding to the appeal are a nearby microbrewery, apartments and the new Kraus-Anderson headquarters. The 168-room hotel also features an Italian restaurant, Tavola.

Gateway Tower

Although there have been several iterations of this proposed development at 30 S. 3rd St. by Minneapolis-based United Properties, the one constant is that it will be at least a 30-story building. The latest word is that today's plans once again include a hotel, Class A office space and condominium units. There is as yet no firm timeline.

Apartments and More

Hotels are not all that's new in Minneapolis. Apartments are big news all over town, along with a number of other exciting projects.

Nicollet Mall Activity

In early October 2018, the Opus Group opened a 30-story apartment tower at 365 Nicollet. With 370 residential units and almost 10,000 square feet of retail space, the building is a model of energy efficiency—LEED Certified—and filled with unique amenities that focus on health and fitness. Included are a sports simulator, an outdoor pool and a 27th-floor amenity deck designed for communal social and wellness activities. It is the third such tower to be completed on the north end of Nicollet Mall.

Target Center Renovation

It only reopened last October following an epic $145 million renovation, but now the new premium space, Club TI, will receive an additional $2.5 million to add eating areas, pool tables and shuffleboard, as well as furniture upgrades and a walk-up merchandise center. It may not sound like a lot of money, but the cash comes from The Timberwolves and Lynx, who see high return on investment from the premium space.

Dinkytown Area Apartments

The replacement of several older buildings near Dinkytown with a six-story, 111-unit apartment complex is planned by Chicago-based CA Ventures. In the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood, the project is adjacent to the site of the Southwest Minneapolis Library.

Dunwoody College of Technology

The first phase of a multi-million-dollar campus revitalization has been completed, with plans to break ground in 2019 on the next phase of the estimated $50 million project near downtown.

The Green

Catholic Eldercare in Northeast Minneapolis has undergone a green revolution to add walking paths, garden beds and outside serenity and beauty for residents and care workers at the non-profit facility's senior housing campus. It was funded by a year-long fundraising campaign.

Minneapolis Business Development Continues On

With all that's happening in Minneapolis today, it may be that Pete Saunders may have been right when he wrote in a January 2018 Forbes article that he was surprised by the omission of Minneapolis from Amazon's short list.

For now, at least, it seems that the city will continue to travel its own path into the future, a future that promises to remain vibrant for a good time to come.

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