Wells Fargo has formally opened its new East Town towers in downtown Minneapolis.
Executives and government officials praised the $300 million project at a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 20 for anchoring the transformation of Downtown East and Elliot Park, which are seeing U.S. Bank Stadium, the Commons park and other projects opening this summer. The company will bring about 5,000 employees to the two 17-story office towers.
“It’s not often when a company like ours has the opportunity to transform a neighborhood,” said Pat Ryan, president and CEO of Ryan Companies, which led the five-block redevelopment of the area around the stadium. “We are moving the center of Minneapolis eastward.”
The development, which replaced two surface parking lots, represents the largest single office project downtown since the Capella Tower in 1992. The area, also known as East Town, is also seeing the development of Ryan’s new corporate headquarters — known as the Millwright Building — a Radisson Red hotel, the newly opened Edition apartment buildings and a proposed 17-story office building at Park & 4th.
“I’m absolutely stunned at the development that is happening in this corner of our city. Having been here for 20 years watching the development of the city, it is just amazing to me to think that two years ago this was a sea of surface parking lots,” said Council President Barb Johnson. “I thank Wells Fargo for being the first one in.”
Gov. Mark Dayton lauded the stadium’s power to bring investment to the area, saying the towers are a “harbinger” for additional interest.
“This was the hope; this was the promise of the stadium. The whole project was to bring new economic development, new economic growth, more jobs, more business to east Minneapolis, and that’s what’s been accomplished,” he said.
The towers have also drawn commercial interest from Caribou Coffee and Einstein Bros. Bagels, which recently opened a Coffee & Bagels location on the skyway level. Local restaurateur Dermot Cowley, known for O’Donovan’s Irish Pub downtown, is also opening a concept called McKinney Roe in the tower at 550 S. 4th St.