Minneapolis Has Meetings Mojo

By Michael J. Solender, April 17, 2017

The welcome mat for the convention market is getting even bigger in Minneapolis. The City of Lakes is undergoing an expansive $2 billion development boom known as the Minneapolis Big Build. The infrastructure and amenity-rich collection of major projects transforming the city includes five new hotel properties in the downtown area; a redesign of downtown’s signature pedestrian-friendly main street, Nicollet; and a burgeoning retail and arts district along downtown’s Mississippi riverfront.

Serving as the centerpiece of the city’s development boom is the newly opened U.S. Bank Stadium, says Melvin Tennant, CAE, president and CEO of Meet Minneapolis. Indeed, the stunning, state-of-the-art NFL facility is among the newest in the country.

Tennant notes the Big Build is proving additional opportunities for the convention market. “Readying for the Super Bowl in 2018 has meant investing tremendously in our overall visitor infrastructure over the past few years,” he says. “Planners will see a significant diversification of hotel product inventory; unique and attractive event space such as the Mill City Museum, built into the ruins of an old flour mill along the Mississippi River; the Guthrie Theater; and the 4.2-acre Commons Park, the green space fronting the new stadium.”

Downtown Minneapolis added nearly 1,000 rooms since last fall, with five new hotels coming online. The area has 33 hotels with more than 50 rooms each and 8,407 total rooms.

Two new properties are retrofitting historic Minneapolis landmarks. The new Hewing Hotel is inspired by Minnesota’s Nordic heritage and occupies the century-old Jackson Building, while the recent Embassy Suites Downtown Minneapolis takes residence in the Plymouth Building, a 106-year-old architectural gem.

Other recent budget-friendly additions include Radisson RED Minneapolis, a young brand designed to appeal to millennials; AC Hotel Minneapolis Downtown, located in the city’s theater district; and the nearby Hampton Inn & Suites Minneapolis University Area.

Minneapolis hosts 48,000 attendees for the 2017 USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championship in June and July, 35,700 attendees for the ESPN X Games in July and 4,000 attendees for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers 2017 Annual Meeting in October.

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