The Dayton's Project unveiled...with one problem

Susie Jones
September 14, 2020 - 1:59 pm
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It's the new gleaming jewel in downtown Minneapolis...with one problem. It's empty.

The 1.2 million square feet Dayton's Project has been three years in the making, complete with innovative office space, beautiful bars, lounges, a fitness center, and glorious rooftop for those workers, and a lower level, state-of-the-art, New York-style food hall for the public. On prime real estate--right at the corner of 7th street and the Nicollet Mall, where Dayton's flagship store had stood since 1902.

The Dayton's Project
Entercom/Susie Jones

President of the marketing firm and a development partner the Telos Group Brian Whiting says they were well on their way to having much of the space leased before COVID hit in March.

"We're in lease with about 100,000 square feet. We were in process with a couple 100,000 square feet of tenancy in January, and we had hoped that by March we will be announcing but then when COVID came, the whole commercial real estate world went on hold. So that hold is still in place. There's maybe some life to it a little bit, but people are still talking to us. Most of the tenants we were in lease with we are still talking to. We expect to be able to open that up for more discussions once we get what I call COVID clarity. COVID clarity for me, for us means when corporations are feeling comfortable, making the decision on when they're back to work and what their workspace is gonna look like after the fact."

The Dayton's Project
Entercom/Susie Jones

So what if companies don't bring their employees back downtown?  Whiting says for the most part, they will, because the vast majority of them are at their best when their people are able to connect and collaborate with others.

"There are companies that can work from home. It's very effective. Companies that can track productivity, like call centers. You can send somebody 40 calls a day to deal with you can track that they're dealing with it. You could do that. But when it comes to business and finance and advertising and innovation and engineering and all of those kind of things,
it's a collaborative thing."

The Dayton's Project
Entercom/Susie Jones

In all, Whiting says they're not worried, and in fact are so optimistic everything will be ok that they're investing another 7 million dollars into two more floors of ready-to-go, modern office space.

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