Updated: August 06, 2020 10:16 PM
Created: August 06, 2020 09:40 PM
Steve Cramer, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS concerns over public safety and the future of the city's police department have some companies looking to leave downtown.
"Almost overnight the brakes went on in downtown," Cramer said. "The point where it all started to change was the day the City Council announced it supported defunding the police department."
Cramer said in a six-week period from that day there were 45 companies that indicated they were either moving out of downtown or were a business that was no longer moving downtown, and there were 13 companies in that group with 100 or more employees and one with 600.
"It is not a crisis, but it is a trickle right now," said Cramer. "We calculated that would be up to a 10,000-person job loss for downtown if that played out."
Minneapolis City Council member Steve Fletcher represents the downtown area and has not yet returned a message seeking comment on the Downtown Council's assessment.
Kevin Lewis, executive director of the Minneapolis Business Owners and Managers Association, told KSTP the owners and managers of all those high-rises and commercial buildings in downtown have expressed public safety concerns, too.
"I would say they have a heightened awareness of what their tenants are telling them, and that does revolve around public safety," said Lewis.
Lewis added there is some concern right now, too, from investors and owners to the point where some high-end development deals have stalled because of public safety worries and it could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.
"From an ownership perspective and you have an owner in New York City or Atlanta, or even internationally, they're really somewhat concerned about things that are going on in Minneapolis," Lewis said. "And we don't want that concern. We want investment, and we want economic growth from those investors."
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