Uptown Theater reopening a 'sign of life' after recent Uptown closings
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - A Minneapolis landmark is coming back to life and signaling what looks like a revival in Uptown.
After watching businesses including Kitchen Window and Williams Pub close in the last couple years, we’re seeing new life in places like Green Room and now, the Uptown Theater.
The theater is reopening in May and the hope is that a now-rising tide can lift all the nearby businesses.
The streets of Uptown aren’t exactly empty, but the foot traffic isn’t what it was before COVID-19 and the George Floyd murder.
"Lake Street and Uptown, it’s been a challenging few years, but it definitely seems like the vibes are changing," said Chris Ikeda, owner and executive chef at the restaurant Lake & Irving.
He says his Uptown restaurant is seeing an increase in guests lately and he trusts the trend.
It should light up the Uptown Theater in the coming months. The marquee is empty for the moment, but from the sidewalk, new construction is obvious.
The plan is to reopen in May as a live entertainment theater.
Neighboring business owners see its revival as an important indicator for the district bearing the same name.
"It really is a beacon of the area and it literally has a beacon on the top," said Natash Greiling of the Uptown Association. "But I know personally and just as an area, it’s an important piece of our history."
Empty storefronts still dot Uptown, but Green Room music venue opened in late January.
And business owners are excited about seeing some of those vacant buildings fill up.
They believe the domino effect that knocked out businesses one after the other can now work in the opposite direction, with people walking from one Uptown business to the next.
"Getting pre-theater diners or pre-concert diners, post-concert diners, that’s great," Ikeda said. "That’s what we’re looking for."
And they’re hoping a couple upcoming events will draw people to Uptown and get them excited about what’s new.
The first one is a pub crawl coming up on March 18.