Rapid growth of downtown Minneapolis thrills locals

Last year saw the population of downtown Minneapolis grow at its fastest rate since 2006, according to new numbers from the Minneapolis Downtown Council, continuing a trend of urban growth for the city that extends back at least 10 years.

Nearly 43,000 Minnesotans live there now, though nearly a quarter of those people have moved downtown in the past decade. It's not surprising to either residents or experts alike, who say younger generations are looking to live in smaller homes and often prioritize walkability over home ownership.

"I come from a suburb of Washington D.C. and people there don’t really consider Minneapolis as an urban place in general, but everyone who’s visited me has been totally shocked by how great it is," said Sarah Connor, a downtown transplant who moved to the area around six years ago. "It's just a great lifestyle."

This demand isn't going unseen by developers, who spent more than a billion dollars on construction permits last year-- $777 million of those in the downtown area alone. More than 1,200 rental units and 374 owned residential properties are currently under construction, many of them sold before they even hit the market.

By 2025 the downtown council hopes to see downtown's population near 70,000, a number that would greatly increase the area's density and lower the cost for services like transit and garbage collection. 

"We’d love to see some condo development as far as the real estate world goes," said Dylan Bode, an expert on development with the Downtown Resource Group. "Downtown is not dying and we have evidence of that every day."