From bustling to boarded up, to rebuilding: Revival in Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood

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A revival is underway in Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood. The former hub is turning the page, its newest chapter beginning with new attractions and the rebuilding of one of the oldest areas in the city.

“I believe Uptown is coming back,” Tanner Montague, who co-owns the neighborhood’s newest live music spot, said Tuesday in an interview in the middle of the Green Room’s dance floor.

Green Room’s neon lights at the corner of Girard and Lagoon Avenues became a part of the area’s comeback story.

“I’ve seen businesses take off the plywood, and doors start to unlock, and exterior buildings start to get repainted and new signs go up,” Montague described.

The story of the building he now runs prior to its Jan. 28 grand opening reads like many of the storefronts and restaurants up and down these streets.

“It was a busy bar along with all the others that were in this neighborhood. But along with all those others it closed,” he continued. “COVID, crime, George Floyd. Perfect storm.”

Three years later, the space signals recovery in a neighborhood regaining its identity.

“It’s going to remind people that are coming from the suburbs to see a show that Uptown is a place to hang out, to get food, to see music, to go mini golf, to get some great pizza,” Montague continued. “It’s just gonna remind people that Uptown is not what they think it has been the last four years.”

Just down the street, another sign of progress was announced this week. It may not look like it yet, but The Uptown Theater, built in 1916, could also soon be a symbol of revival in Uptown. It’s one of oldest standing theaters in the Twin Cities, and it’s set to reopen in May.

“I mean, everybody knows the Uptown marquee and the sign has been, I don’t know exactly how long the signs went up there, but I want to say around 100 years,” Natasha Greiling with the Uptown Association remembered. “They’re reimagining that space.”

Greiling is also a small business owner, neighbor and patron ready to see her slice of the Cities come back to life.

“I am really happy to see that the bones are still there, but it’ll be used in a different way,” she said.

In its 100-year history, The Uptown went from bustling theater, to dilapidated and boarded up, and in May, developers say it’ll once again open it’s doors, this time as a live performance and music venue.

Greiling was pleased to see the streets and sidewalks pick up as she looks forward toward the new beginning that spring is expected to bring.

“Coming out on that other side is where we are now, and and it’s difficult, but we were getting there definitely,” she said.