A big year for construction in Minneapolis

Downtown East under construction
Downtown East, a mixed-use development project by Ryan Companies, is under construction in downtown Minneapolis on Monday, Sept. 15, 2014.
Bridget Bennett / MPR News

Two publicly-subsidized projects — the Vikings stadium and the Wells Fargo Downtown East development — helped fuel a Minneapolis building boom this year.

Minneapolis saw a record $2 billion in new construction, up about 60 percent from last year.

Residential development — especially higher-end apartment towers — is also driving the growth.

Many American cities are seeing their populations rebound thanks to a generation of young people attracted to urban living. The population of Minneapolis cracked 400,000 last year for the first time since the 1970's.

"People want to come here now," said Doug Kress, director of the Minneapolis Development Services Center. "When you interview college students about 'where's a place you'd consider moving to?' Minneapolis is becoming one of those locations, because it is a great place to live, work, play and raise a family."

Kress expects the boom to continue next year, with at least 10 major buildings already in the pipeline. The city took in about $30 million dollars in building permit fees this year, which will cover the cost of inspecting all the new construction.

Minneapolis construction in 2014
Construction spending in Minneapolis increased about 60 percent over 2013, according to data from the City of Minneapolis.
Curtis Gilbert / MPR news

The building boom is pushing up construction costs for contractors, said Kress. "Whether that's our workforce, whether that's the steel, whether that's concrete, they do become more expensive," he said. "But ... that's creating more job opportunities in our city as well."

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