It was a twofer Wednesday night when the Minneapolis Downtown Council and the Cynthia Froid Group played host to forums with a similar focus: what comes next downtown in a city where commercial construction topped $1 billion for four straight years.
The first of the two events was the Minneapolis Downtown Council’s (MDC) 2025 Plan Quarterly Forum Panel at the Lakes & Legends Brewing Company at the base of LPM tower. The agenda included presentations from representatives of several task forces, including Brent Webb and Jennifer Gordon with attendance numbers from the most recent Downtown Living apartment tour.
Before the event, Carl Runck of Ryan Cos. and chairman of the 2025 Plan Development Committee, said that attendance exceeded expectations and that several apartment leases were signed as a result. “We’ve learned a lot about the demographics of who’s being attracted to downtown,” he said.
With a condo tower nearing completion and two in the final planning stages, downtown agents say more are needed. But there’s a roadblock: Developers cite the state’s construction-defect laws, which make them vulnerable to lawsuits should any problems emerge within the decade after construction, as a barrier to additional development.
Two attorneys provided details on efforts to amend the state’s construction-defect laws. State lawmakers last month tabled that work until the next legislative session.
“We don’t want to strip consumers of their rights, but [we] want to find a way to solve issues proactively,” Runck said.
The panel also included a presentation by Dan Collison on the continuing transformation of East Town (the area surrounding the U.S. Bank Stadium), and new details were released on efforts to forge a stronger connection to the University of Minnesota by opening a downtown-area facility that is friendly to U students, alumni and staff.
Downtown Minneapolis accounts for about one-third of all Twin Cities office space. But with 39,960 residents downtown, a 25 percent increase since 2006, the residential scene is changing dramatically. Last year, approximately 970 new residential units were added, and about 680 are currently being built this year. Condominiums represented only a fraction of those units. In fact, condo listings in the city are at an all-time low, according to data from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.
And that’s why across town on the sixth floor of the Mill City Museum, the Cynthia Froid Group played host to “Downtown Nitty Gritty,” an hourlong discussion about the state of the residential market downtown. Froid said the market is on the cusp of a big shift as an additional 600 or so new condos become available downtown.
“As soon as they open that logjam, the market will have some relief,” she said. “Buyers will finally have some options.”