Nearly 2,600 people moved downtown last year

Updated: February 20, 2018 - 11:39 am

Downtown continues to grow, drawing new residents and continued interest from developers, according to a snapshot of the city’s urban activity recently released by the Minneapolis Downtown Council.

Now nearly 43,500 people call downtown’s five neighborhoods home, the council said in a presentation at its annual meeting in February. That’s a 6 percent jump from the 40,864 people reported last year and a 36 percent increase from 2006.

Developers are building for even more residents. The city topped $1 billion in construction permits in 2017 for the sixth consecutive year. Of the $1.5 billion in permits, a little more than half were related to projects in the City Council’s Ward 3 and Ward 7, which include much of downtown and its surrounding neighborhoods. The council is tracking more than 1,200 rented units that are currently under construction, along with 374 condos or owned residential units.

The annual numbers reveal many of downtown’s largest employers remain at the top. Target, bouncing back from massive layoffs in early 2015, added more than 180 employees in 2017 over the previous year for a total workforce of 8,333 people.

Hennepin County Medical Center (7,105), Wells Fargo (7,000), Hennepin County (6,595), Ameriprise Financial (4,893), U.S. Bank (4,651) and Xcel Energy (2,351) are among the city’s biggest urban employers. SPS Commerce, which expanded in the 333 South Seventh building that is now named SPS Tower after the company, didn’t make the list in 2016, but is now the 13th largest employer downtown with a staff of 1,002.

The Downtown Council itself has grown substantially over the past year. The organization reported adding 86 new members in 2017, an increase of 19 percent, for a total of 440 businesses and other members.