For a long time now, St. Paul has stood in the shadow of Minneapolis. While the two cities are technically the “Twin” Cities, they are clearly fraternal rather than identical. St. Paul is the more introverted and subdued of the siblings, its buildings older and its attractions more reserved. While Minneapolis may spend the weekend bar hopping or catching a show at First Ave., St. Paul would be strolling the Science Museum or taking in a show at the Ordway.
The attractions Minneapolis offers skew to a younger crowd, drawing in the upcoming generation. And according to downtown expert Christopher Leinberger, a city’s next generation is crucial to its downtown’s potential. St. Paul needs to ask itself, “Do your young people stay, and can you attract new young people? Because it’s the millennials that are driving [downtown rejuvenation],” Leinberger says. “And if you care about your future economy, you’d better want the millennials to be there.”
Gene Rebeck at Twin Cities Business sees the tides changing for the better in St. Paul. Despite the closing of Macy’s, there is construction all over the city. St. Paul will soon welcome a new Saints ballpark, the light rail, and plenty of new residential projects like the Penfield. Additionally, Mayor Coleman hopes a new office building will replace Macy’s central structure, perhaps a business that fosters young employees like Minneapolis has with Target.
If St. Paul wants to truly re-invent itself and reinvigorate its economy it first has to find a way to draw in the crowd that hangs around with it’s cooler twin brother.