Minneapolis companies target March for return to office
The long-awaited return of more office workers to downtown Minneapolis appears to finally be on the horizon.
The big picture: Two years after COVID-19 emptied towers and shuttered businesses, just 41% of the roughly 216,000 downtown employees are back in the office in some form, according to the Minneapolis Downtown Council.
- But three major employers — Wells Fargo, Xcel Energy and the city of Minneapolis — now plan to bring workers back in person in the coming weeks.
Why it matters: Getting more people downtown will give a much-needed boost to the city's pandemic-battered business district, especially the retailers, restaurants and hotels that rely on workers.
Yes, but: The growing prevalence of hybrid work arrangements means the daily downtown population won't hit pre-pandemic levels even once more companies are back.
- Plus, several more big employers like U.S. Bank and Ameriprise have not publicly announced new return-to-office dates after delaying them due to Omicron.
What they're saying: "We know the work-week experience will be different going forward, incorporating more flexibility and fewer days in office," Minneapolis Downtown Council president and CEO Steve Cramer said at the group's annual meeting last week.
- "This new reality will have implications for the downtown economy that we need to face squarely and respond to creatively."
Between the lines: City and business leaders also see populated streets and skyways as key to addressing lingering concerns about crime.
- "It kind of becomes a chicken or the egg thing," Mayor Jacob Frey told downtown council members."You don't have true safety until you have people downtown. You don't have people downtown until it's safe."
📅 The bottom line: The weeks ahead will give us a better sense of what the future of (workday) downtown will look and feel like.
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