Downtown population climbs to 37,526

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February 5, 2014 // UPDATED 10:37 am - February 6, 2014
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

Downtown’s residential population has reached 37,526, according to the Minneapolis Downtown Council.

Downtown boosters said downtown Minneapolis is on pace to reach 70,000 residents by 2025 — a key goal of the Downtown Council. The city’s core added 3,552 residential units in 2013. It would need to add roughly that amount each year for the next 12 years to reach the 2025 goal.

The organization held its annual meeting today at the Hilton Minneapolis, which drew a crowd of about 700 people and featured a conversation with new Downtown Council CEO Steve Cramer, Mayor Betsy Hodges, U.S. Bancorp Richard Davis and architect Julie Snow about ways to keep downtown Minneapolis headed in the right direction.

The North Loop neighborhood is the fastest growing part of downtown. Several new residential developments have opened recently, including the 222 Hennepin apartment building featuring a Whole Foods at Hennepin & Washington. Many other projects have recently broken ground. 

David Wilson, managing director at Accenture who heads up the Council’s Downtown 2025 Greening Committee, outlined several efforts underway to increase green space downtown. The Council supports the RiverFirst project, which would kick off with a new Water Works Park on downtown’s central riverfront. The vision for a redesigned Nicollet Mall also includes plans for a new park on the north end of the mall. The Yard, the park planned next to the new Vikings stadium, would also bring much needed green space to Downtown East. 

There is also talk of launching a Downtown Conservancy to raise public and private funds for greening efforts and pushing for a new tree ordinance.

“We need to make robust greening a routine part of development,” Wilson said.

The Downtown Council also announced plans for a new Minneapolis Ideas Exchange called the MIX. The project — a festival of ideas of sorts — is still in its early stages with a preview planned for the fall and a full rollout in 2015. 

Other downtown highlights noted at the meeting include an 84 percent reduction in downtown crime in 2013, the Orpheum Theatre has been ranked number five on a list highlighting the world's best theaters and there's been a 38 percent reduction in street homelessness downtown in the past four years. 

Target Corp. also remains downtown's largest employer with 12,582 employees. (See list of top 15 employers below.)

The Council also honored former Mayor R.T. Rybak with the Fathers of Waters award and former City Council members with skyline awards for their service to the city.

Hennepin Theatre Trust CEO Tom Hoch has also become the new chair of the Downtown Council, succeeding Collin Barr of Ryan Cos. U.S. Inc. 

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Downtown's top employers

1. Target Corp. (12,582 employees)
2. Wells Fargo (7,000)
3. HCMC (5,800)
4. Hennepin County (5,265)
5. Ameriprise Financial (5,096)
6. U.S. Bank (3,437)
7. City of Minneapolis (1,850)
8. Xcel Energy (1,595)
9. RBC Wealth Management (1,248)
10. Capella University & Star Tribune (both have 1,140)
12. TCF Bank (1,085)
13. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis (1,036)
14. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans (1,017)
15. AT&T (745)