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In post-Taylor Swift, post-Pride glow, proponents say downtown Minneapolis has turned a corner

Has downtown Minneapolis turned a corner after Taylor Swift, Pride weekend?
Has downtown Minneapolis turned a corner after Taylor Swift, Pride weekend? 02:02

MINNEAPOLIS -- The twin draws of Taylor Swift and the annual Twin Cities Pride Festival brought in estimated hundreds of thousands of people, marking one of the biggest weekends for downtown Minneapolis since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

But are those just one-off events, or is this the start of a turnaround for downtown? it depends on who you ask.

WCCO's Esme Murphy got a range of opinions when she talked with business leaders and people walking downtown. When she talked to Mayor Jacob Frey, he said while the crowds may have left, this weekend does mark a turning point.

However, Jack Farrell, who has owned Haskell's liquor store downtown since 1970, has a different take. Farrell says he and his sons have talked about leaving but right now are holding out.

The Mayor and the city have been trying to get people downtown for weeks. Scheduled events on Thursday have pulled in slim crowds; a mini golf event left Nicollet Mall looking like an empty fairway.

Downtown Minneapolis has an estimated 30% office vacancy rate. That's depending on who you talk to, but above street level, in the once bustling skyways, there are even more vacancy signs that more businesses have left.

Another big event coming to downtown next weekend is Taste of Minnesota, which will be on Nicollet Mall Sunday and Monday. Tickets for that event are free.

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