OUR VIEW: Downtown gallery: Tailwind, MSU bring nice addition downtown

Tim Krohn
The Free Press, Mankato, MN
Date: Monday, August 10, 2015

When it comes to entertainment, bustling downtown Mankato has all its bases covered with bars and restaurants.

Now, thanks to developer Kyle Smith of Tailwind Group and Minnesota State University’s Department of Art, the City Center will be providing something more for those interested in the arts.

Tailwind is behind several new buildings downtown and the group provided a partial donation of prime retail space in one new Front Street building for the art gallery.

Even with the space, MSU had difficulty finding funding for finishing the raw space for a gallery. Tailwind pitched in by offering to construct restrooms and MSU has committed to pay for finishing the rest of the space.

“It’s not just us, but a lot of people in the downtown corridor wish for downtown to be more than just bars and restaurants,” Smith told The Free Press.

Tailwind is constructing a trio of multi-story buildings on the block bordered by Front, Riverfront Drive, Cherry and Warren streets. The $30 million Tailwind project — which tops $40 million when a related public parking ramp is included — is the largest private investment in downtown Mankato in decades.

It comes as the area has seen a dramatic revitalization in the past decade or so. Private investors have restored or built several buildings, including U.S. Bank, the Graif Building, Tandem Bagels and the office tower by Wells Fargo. And business and civic leaders have worked hard to improve the atmosphere and provide more things for people to do. The walking sculpture tour, live performances downtown, the addition of Riverside Park and other events have made the area a place people want to work and visit.

And the city has done well in making improvements to the area, including pedestrian malls and the currently underway project to create a grand lawn across from the entrance to the civic center.

The new art gallery, which could be open by the end of the year, will add one more piece to the mix in downtown.

UPDATE: Multi-Million-Dollar Downtown Development Takes Shape

KEYC – Mankato News, Weather, Sports
Date: Thursday, February 26, 2015
Updated: Friday, August 21, 2015

Several projects in downtown Mankato are either finishing up or just beginning construction.

Those projects are changing the look in the center of the city.

For nearly thirty years, Mr. Monogram has been located in downtown Mankato.

Owning the business for the past decade Owen Dundas has seen the area around his shop change for the better.

Dundas says, “The fact that we’re doing this renovation and making changes and trying to invite more people downtown. I just think that it’s going to lead to good things.”

Right across the street, the Tailwind Group has just started construction on The Residences of 518. The facility is to used for both retail and living spaces.

Reggie Reed, the director of operations for Tailwind Group says, “For 518 some residential leases are already signed up. It looks like the demand is definitely there. Our lease agents are busy working on that.”

Dundas says, “It’s going to be exciting to see. There’s going to be new tenants in there and hopefully that’s going to lead to more business for us and our neighbors.”

Around the corner, the new tower changing Mankato’s skyline is wrapping up final touches as new tenants will be moving into Profinium Place within the next 30 days.

Reed says, “It was planned for January of 2015 when we said we could provide them with their personal space. Now it’s up to them to finish it off. Each tenant space is based upon their own timeline based upon what their move–in day is.”

Dundas says, “It’s really amazing to see how quickly that’s come together.”

Reed says, “I think this town will be positively unrecognizable in the next couple of years.”

The first tenant in Profinium Place is the accounting firm, Abdo, Eick and Meyers. They’ll be moving in next month.