Dayton's Project now open in downtown Minneapolis |

Dayton's Project now open in downtown Minneapolis

Updated: November 18, 2021 06:48 PM
Created: November 18, 2021 01:48 PM

After four years of renovations, the Dayton's Project in downtown Minneapolis is open to the public.

An artists market with 35 vendors will be there for the next four months and people are invited to see the century-old shopping center and beloved holiday window displays.

“I believe that it probably will get Minneapolis back jumping again because there was a nice amount of people in there,” Kimberly Weems, downtown shopper, said. 

Dayton's big reopening could bring a pulse back to the heart of the city. 

“It's been pretty bare ever since COVID and everything with the civil unrest,” Weems said. “People don’t feel safe down here.” 

But some business owners are optimistic Dayton's could bring business back to the area.

“We're building a better Minneapolis. We're coming back slowly, but we're coming back and at the end of the day better than we were before,” Eric Forsberg, downtown restaurant owner, said.  

Forsberg owned three restaurants in downtown Minneapolis. After a dramatic drop in customers, he was forced to close every location.

“We'll be coming back and reopening. It's going to be very soon so it's going to be exciting to actually get a vibrant downtown again,” he said. 

City officials said the shopping center is ringing in a diverse scene of retail with 35 locally owned businesses.

Five years ago, the historic staple was a community gathering place now it's back, just in time for the holiday season. 

“This is an incredible place and it's an incredible place that is here for you to experience and love and appreciate. Again, the message is come on back,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said. 

City leaders agree customers are the last piece of the puzzle to start the next chapter of downtown.

“I think people need to be brave enough to come down here and check it out because it is worthy of a trip downtown,” Forsberg said. 

With roots dating back to 1902, Dayton's expanded into three buildings on Nicollet Avenue in 1929, occupying about 1 million square feet.

It grew to 12 stories by 1947 and included a bookstore, cafeteria, auditorium, portrait studio and shoe repair shop.

The St. Paul location opened in 1963 and by 1978, 18 Dayton's stores were operating across the Midwest.

In 1985, Dayton's introduced Santa Bear, a stuffed animal so popular it generated $300 million in sales within nine years.

Dayton-Hudson Corporation officially changed its name to Target Corporation in 2000 when Target stores made up 80% of its revenue.

Currently, the remaining Dayton's stores are operating as Macy's stores.

Retail hours for the brand new Dayton's Project are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.

Brittney Ermon contributed to this report.

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