With hundreds of new apartments becoming available in the next several months, the Minneapolis Downtown Council is ramping up its efforts to help fill those buildings and promote downtown living with an expanded website and a big promotional event this weekend.

Explore Downtown Living, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday, will feature 23 apartment buildings in the North Loop, Loring Park, Central Business District, Downtown East/Mill District and Northeast.

Planners say a similar event in the spring was so successful they wanted to do it again. They’ve added an interactive map to the website and an apartment building to the lineup. More than 20 businesses — from Black Sheep Pizza to Primrose Park — are offering special deals.

Brent Webb, co-chairman of the 2025 Plan Development Committee’s Explore Downtown Living task force, said many of the buildings on the tour this weekend are offering special access to apartments and amenities. That includes a newcomer, Laurel Village, a sprawling apartment complex along Hennepin Avenue S.

Mark Remme, the Downtown Council’s communication manager, said that at its inaugural event in mid-May, an estimated 1,500 people visited about 5,000 apartments with some buildings getting 400 to 500 visits.

The tour website, www.exploredtliving.com, has been revamped and will enable users to see an interactive map that, when paired with your current location, gives you directions to the next apartment building. You can designate travel by foot, bike or vehicle. The website and those mapping features can be viewed on mobile devices and computers.

The Explore Downtown Living task force is part of the development committee of the Downtown 2025 Plan, which calls for increasing downtown’s population, which is now around 39,000, to 70,000 by 2025. Other initiatives include improving downtown green spaces and transportation options.

A report released last week by Marquette Advisors said that downtown Minneapolis has been the most active submarket for new construction in the Twin Cities metro. Last year 1,441 new units hit the market and another 300 were delivered during the first half of 2015. Downtown has accounted for one-third of all new construction in the metro since Jan. 1, 2013. Another 657 units are expected to open in downtown during the second half of the year.

Jim Buchta