Minneapolis Skyway Retailers Feel Impact of Continued Decision to Work from Home
It has been just over a year since most businesses in downtown Minneapolis sent their employees to work from home indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the pandemic began, most of the 200 businesses in the Minneapolis skyway system, running nearly 10 miles through the city, have closed.
According to one of the business owners in the skyway system, he’s the only business left open in the Northstar Center food court. Moreover, for businesses that have hopes of reopening, those hopes keep getting pushed back by new spikes in COVID-19 cases and, most recently, by the heightened security down town due to the Derek Chauvin trial. To top off the uncertainty, even when businesses reopen, those businesses are concerned about how many customers there will actually be. As large companies reduce their leased space downtown, and as more companies continue to close their doors, these businesses are unsure how many people will actually return to the skyways when the buildings reopen.
Capella University and Target Corporation are two Minneapolis companies that have recently announced they will be downsizing their downtown offices. As leases expired throughout the past year, many businesses, especially small business and companies with multi-floor leases, chose not to renew or, at the very least, downsize. Large corporations, retail spaces, and restaurants that have seen the downturn in traffic through Minneapolis have determined the best option was to call it quits in downtown spaces.
Other businesses are not as lucky, with as many as 10 years remaining on their lease, those businesses don’t have the option to shut their doors. Landlords are also working through the difficulties of this pandemic, and while some landlords have made concessions for struggling tenants, others have not. Many have tried to make some concessions in order to maintain their relationships with longstanding tenants.
However, there is optimism within the Minneapolis Downtown Council that Minneapolis will see a strong recovery. Despite Target and Capella’s decision to downsize on leased space, other major companies, including large law firms in the twin cities, have signed new leases or renewed their current lease. The Downtown Council is seeing signs of recovery as they monitor the availability of leased space and chooses to remain optimistic.