Jun 7, 2021 - News

Why a big developer is so bullish on downtown Minneapolis

Rendering of a mixed-use complex in downtown Minneapolis.

Sherman Associates is pushing forward with this 21-story tower in downtown Minneapolis. Image: ESG Architecture & Design via city of Minneapolis

Don't tell Chris Sherman downtown is dead.

Driving the news: Sherman Associates, where Chris is president, broke ground over the past two weeks on two major mixed-use projects in downtown Minneapolis that will eventually bring 540 apartments and a total investment of $230 million to the city.

Why it matters: Apartment construction fell by 61% in Minneapolis between November and March, even as the broader Twin Cities pushed forward with new development.

  • The fact that Sherman Associates, its investors and lenders are betting $230 million on downtown says a lot about the future of a city that has been hampered by a loss of office workers, sporting events and entertainment.

The state of play: Sherman Associates knows the downtown market as well as anyone. It owns three buildings in the center of the city — East End, Vicinity and Encore. The company also regularly meets with other landlords to discuss how their buildings are doing.

  • Sherman said vacancies at his company's building rose to 13% last winter and the broader downtown market saw vacancies rise to 15%.
  • But thanks to the vaccine rollout and some sweet leasing deals landlords offered — like a month or two of free rent — buildings have been filling back up. Sherman's properties now have a 5% vacancy.

Details: The two projects are within three blocks of each other on the east side of downtown.

  • Moment Apartments will be a 10-story, 222-unit apartment tower at 500 S. 7th St. It'll include a day care and a center for injured fighters and burn victims. A groundbreaking was held in late May.
  • Near the corner of Washington and Portland, Sherman started construction on a new fire station. Once it's complete early next year, the company intends to begin building a 21-story, 228-unit market rate apartment tower and a seven-story, 90-unit affordable apartment building.

The bottom line: "I live downtown. I work downtown. I play downtown. And right now I see the change occurring every day as business comes back and as restaurants have more customers coming to them," Sherman told Axios.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Twin Cities.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Twin Cities stories

No stories could be found

Twin Citiespostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Twin Cities.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more