Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey convened a “Vibrant Downtown Storefronts Workgroup” this week following a string of recent high-profile closures.
“Cities that see the most success post-pandemic won’t cling to the old ways that are now changed forever,” Frey said in a press release. “Here in Minneapolis, we will step boldly into the future, guided by the top experts in our region, prepared to innovate and adapt. Minneapolis has always been a hub of commerce and innovation, and I am confident that this workgroup will help ensure we continue carrying that legacy forward.”
The workgroup will be co-chaired by Steve Cramer, president and CEO of the mpls downtown council, and Gabrielle Grier, managing director of Juxtaposition Arts.
“This expert Workgroup will play a critical role in helping the community understand current trends and factors affecting downtown retail and storefront uses and charting a course forward from where we are today to a more vibrant future,” said Cramer. “We face a challenge, but by addressing that challenge head on we can reinvent this important aspect of the downtown economy.”
Frey said the workgroup will “examine retail market dynamics, storefront space inventory and occupancy, barriers to existing retail success, and opportunities for inclusive economic development of storefronts.” He hopes to find “unique and comprehensive ways to shift the storefront model in downtown.”
Both Marshalls and Nordstrom Rack recently announced the closure of their department stores in downtown. Ties Lounge & Rooftop, a restaurant specifically created to “revitalize” the downtown area, closed earlier this month.
The downtown Hilton, the state’s largest hotel, is scheduled to go up for auction early next year after the owners defaulted on their debt, Axios reports. One of the owners blamed “unnecessary” COVID-19 shutdowns for the hotel’s demise.