Downtown Revitalization: Minneapolis

February 27, 2014 19 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Metro Jacksonville takes a look at the heart of the Midwest's second largest economic center: Minneapolis.


Uptown is a popular commercial district in southwestern Minneapolis, Minnesota, centered at the Uptown Theater (the former Lagoon) at the intersection of Hennepin Avenue and Lagoon Avenue. It has traditionally spanned the corners of four neighborhoods, Lowry Hill East, ECCO, CARAG and East Isles neighborhoods, within the Calhoun Isles community.[5] Historically, the boundaries of Uptown are Lake Calhoun to the west, Dupont Avenue to the east, 31st Street to the south, and 28th Street to the north.

The Lakes Area of Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet, and Lake of the Isles became popular in the 1880s as vacation cottages, hotels, and boating recreation became available by streetcar. As Minneapolis expanded south, housing construction boomed through the 1920s. A commercial district began forming just east of the Lakes Area. At the intersection of Hennepin Avenue and Lagoon Avenue, the Lagoon Theatre was built, a multi-function vaudeville theater. When the Lagoon burnt down in 1939, owners sought to rebuild and the business community took the opportunity to rebrand the area. Following the success of Chicago's Uptown District, the Minneapolis Tribune announced the new Uptown District of Minneapolis centered on the newly renamed Uptown Theatre.

Uptown is a mix of various cultural strains and is considered an area for young people to live and shop. It's known as a vibrant center for artists and musicians, hipsters, and hippies. Much more numerous are the young professionals, also known as yuppies, from throughout the Twin Cities area who frequent this district at night, especially on the weekends, in order to visit local restaurants and bars.

Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Photographs by Russell Conner. Contact Ennis at

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