Mankato – Economic Boom

Paul Vogel, Director of Community Development, City of Mankato
The Connection Minnesota Shopping Center Association
Date: March 5, 2015

Mankato, Minnesota is a major regional center that has been designated as a Metropolitan Statistical Area and has earned several livability awards. Recently, it was reported that Mankato’s economic growth leads Minnesota and is among the top in the nation. Low office and energy costs and a productive workforce make Mankato one of the least expensive places to do business in the Upper Midwest; and, in the top 17 percent of the nation.

2014 was a record year for commercial/industrial development — Wal-Mart, Mills Fleet Farm, the Fed Ex building and some others,” said Mankato City Manager Pat Hentges.” We’ve had the best commercial year since the boom years of the ‘90s with the construction of River Hills Mall.” Jonathan Zierdt believes there is much more to come. “This is one of the biggest years on record and 2015 looks really strong,” said the president and CEO of Greater Mankato Growth. He points to four construction projects already slated to start next year: the downtown civic center expansion, new dining and clinical buildings at MSU, and a new middle school. “Those four projects alone are $150 million.”

The $75 million Wal-Mart distribution center, which has been anticipated for nearly a decade, is nearing completion on the east edge of Mankato. At 454,000 sq ft, it will be 2.7 times as large as Mankato’s Wal-Mart store. About 100 semis a day will move in and out of the site when it opens early next year.

The most high-profile construction projects are taking place on a one-block area of downtown Mankato. Tailwind Group is leading the construction of a seven-story office tower on the corner of Warren Street and Riverfront Drive, a five-story mixeduse building on Front Street and a five-story office tower on the corner of Cherry Street and Riverfront Dr. There were also several new strip malls built this year and others that were refurbished and expanded, often with two or three floors added for rental housing.

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