New businesses open in downtown Minneapolis as workers return to the office

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More restaurants are preparing to open their doors in downtown Minneapolis and business owners said the foot traffic is already picking up.

The Minneapolis Downtown Business Council said 12 new businesses are set to open soon and lines for lunch are getting longer during work hours.

Some people in the area said they’re excited about downtown getting back on track.

“We came downtown for a concert at Orchestra Hall and it’s really nice to be down here again,” Janice Devine, former downtown Minneapolis resident, said.

Forty years ago, Janice Devine and Peter Ruggles used to eat, sleep and breathe downtown Minneapolis.

After they moved, they noticed differences over time.

“To not have the Dayton’s, to not have some of that retail, I could see that as a difference,” Devine said.

But now, Dayton’s is back and storefronts are filling up.

“It’s nice to be back and see things coming back in the pandemic,” Devine said.

The Minneapolis Business Council credits the change in pace to businesses nixing the remote option.

“We have about 39% of employees right now back in [the] office, which is great,” Leah Wong, Minneapolis downtown council representative, said.

Officials said 5 of their top 15 large employers are either back in the office or have plans to return within a few weeks.

Dining-in is also pushing patrons back downtown. The council said 24 new businesses recently opened their doors.

“There is a number of collective urban experiences that only happen downtown: arts, entertainment, concerts, sporting events. So we’re really looking forward to what spring brings as we push forward into summer,” Wong said.

Xcel Energy and Wells Fargo employees are set to come back to the office within the next few weeks.
Business owners are looking forward to this new foot traffic hoping for a busy lunch and happy hour.