The Minneapolis Downtown Council annual meeting, held earlier this month, always is the place to go to learn about the numbers behind the downtown economy.
And a few of the people generating the numbers, also are honored for their work of the heart.
Lynette Dumalag, who works for NTH, the commercial real estate firm, also has worked for five years as a volunteer to end downtown homelessness, one of the 10 stated goals of the Downtown 2025 plan and one in which the council has made significant gains with its nonprofit, government and religious partners.
Dumalag, the daughter of Filipino immigrants, said she was first connected to the issue years ago as a volunteer at Aeon, the nonprofit developer and manager of affordable housing. And she has known folks who have struggled to make rent.
One evening a few years ago, while Dumalag was serving a meal for residents at the Continental, an Aeon-owned apartment building for the working poor, she noticed that one of the diners was wearing a Downtown Improvement District (DID) uniform. That is the Downtown Council subsidiary that provides supplemental visitor, security and sanitation services. The workers make less than $15 an hour.
"I remember thinking that if he can help keep us safe and downtown livable, then we can support him and others with affordable housing," Dumalag said.
Minneapolis was the first major city to declare ending street homelessness as a goal. And Dumalag and many others believe that, in a district fast filling with luxury accommodations, the temple stands unfinished until everybody has a decent place.
That also makes downtown a better, safer place for everyone.
Meanwhile, 2014 was another pretty good year for the growing downtown economy. Here are a few statistics aggregated by the council:
• The population grew 3.7 percent to 38,909 last year and is a safe bet to break through 40,000 this year amid all the residential construction.
• Of the $2 billion in new construction permits issued by the city in 2014, $1.5 billion covered downtown.
• Average resale price of a downtown condo rose 27 percent to $400,447.
• Available Class A (most expensive) office space shrank thanks to occupancy by 52,737 square feet and B and C space shrank by 129,219 square feet, which explains some of the office construction at several sites. Meanwhile, the Class A vacancy rate has dropped to 10.6 percent.
• Crime dropped by 80 percent among the Downtown 100 offenders — those highest-incident repeat offenders targeted by enforcement officials — the fifth straight year of double-digit reductions.
• Convention and hotel occupancy has hit record levels.
Collin Barr of Ryan Companies was feted for his two-year chairmanship of the Downtown Council and his leadership and vision overseeing the Downtown 2025 plan for the future.