By Dees Stribling - Bisnow National
January 30, 2018
Sure, the Super Bowl is just a game. But a game that about 188 million people are going to watch, and according to the National Retail Federation, spend $15.3B this year while doing so, up 8.5% from last year.
The game puts its host city squarely in the national spotlight: Minneapolis this year, but also neighboring St. Paul. Here is a deeper look at the Twin Cities and the region's robust real estate markets, as well as some interesting facts you may not know.
Last Time The Super Bowl Was In The Twin Cities, Google And Amazon Did Not Exist
On Jan. 26, 1992, the Washington Redskins beat the Buffalo Bills 37-24 in Super Bowl XXVI at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, the first, and until this year, only time Minneapolis has ever hosted the Super Bowl.
It was also only the second time the event had been played in a city with an actual winter, with Super Bowl XVI in 1982 held at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. As the northernmost Super Bowl ever, the 1992 Minneapolis game did not attract a huge crowd, with 63,130 in attendance, the second-lowest in Super Bowl history.
Don't Fear The Cold: Minneapolis Invents A New Brand For The Super Bowl
How to encourage visitors to come during the Super Bowl and, more importantly, during February in Minnesota? First, throw a weeklong party that embraces the cold, with several major fan activities within a one-mile radius of Downtown Minneapolis. But do not forget the new brand: the region is now the Bold North, as in, We Are The Bold North!
Ahead of the game itself, the most popular event seemed to be the Super Bowl Zipline, which takes zipliners across the Mississippi River at 100 feet high. The 10,000 tickets that were made available weeks ago at $36 a pop sold out in a flash.
U.S. Bank Stadium vs. HHH
The size of the HHH Metrodome was probably a factor in the low attendance in 1992. At 900K SF, its capacity was 64,121 when set up for football. The new U.S. Bank Stadium is nearly twice the size, at 1.75M SF, with a football capacity expandable to 73,000 fans.
Then again, HHH bested the old Metropolitan Stadium, where the Vikings played from 1961-81, since that venue could only hold 48,446 spectators by the time the team left, and provided fans the comforts that only an open-air stadium in a Minnesota winter can. Metropolitan Stadium was razed to build the Mall of America.
Great Things About U.S. Bank Stadium
U.S. Bank Stadium, the second-newest facility in the NFL, has more than just a lot of seats. For one thing, instead of a retractable roof, it has a tough ethylene-tetra-fluoro-ethylene clear plastic roof to let in natural light.
The stadium also features five of the world's largest hinged doors (up to 95 feet); there are over 400 concession points; a mobile app is available to direct fans around, including to shorter bathroom lines; and the stadium has the closest first row to the gridiron in the league, at 41 feet.
HHH Was Not That Bad
Whatever its shortcomings, the HHH was the only sports facility anywhere to host not only a Super Bowl, but two World Series and two NCAA Division I Final Four games. Not too shabby for a facility with a ceiling that had a habit of collapsing because of snow drifts. Also: as of press time, the least-expensive ticket on resale markets for the 2018 Super Bowl is $4,370, according to TicketIQ. For Super Bowl XXVI in 1992 in old HHH? An average of $150.
Twin Cities Economic Fundamentals: Strong
Minneapolis-St. Paul has strong economic fundamentals. The local economy continues to boast one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, around 3.4%, or roughly full employment. The Super Bowl might provide a little more temporary oomph to the economy, but it hardly needs it.
During the 12 months ending in Q3, 28,000 jobs were added to the metro area, which also happens to be home to 16 Fortune 500 company HQs. In terms of education, 41% of the workforce has a bachelor’s degree or higher, and the average annual household income is $74,500, topping the national average by 29%.
A Lot Of Tall Buildings In Minneapolis Since 1992
Six of the 13 tallest buildings in Minneapolis have been built since the last time the Super Bowl was in town, Cushman & Wakefield reports. They are, in order from shortest to tallest, US Bankcorp Center (2000), The Carlyle (2007), Target Plaza South (2001), Ameriprise Financial Tower (2000), RBC Plaza (1992) and Capella Tower (1992), which remains one of the second-tallest buildings in the city, tied with the Wells Fargo Center and only bested by the IDS Center.
Overseas Investors Have An Appetite For The Twin Cities
Foreign real estate investors have a reputation of overlooking U.S. markets that are not within sight of an ocean, but that is not entirely so. The Twin Cities have their fans among deep-pocketed non-American CRE players, JLL reports.
The latest sizable acquisition by a foreign investor in Minneapolis was in December, when Singapore-based Mapletree snapped up Fifty South Sixth for $258.5M, marking its first foray into the U.S. office market. Other capital for real estate deals that has found its way to Minneapolis/St. Paul in recent years has been from Canada, China, Germany, Israel and other parts of the Middle East.
National Buyers Have Noticed Twin Cities Apartments
Previously, the investment sales volume of apartments in the Twin Cities ranged from $500M to $750M per year, but in the last four years, that volume has doubled, according to Colliers International, representing interest from more national, as opposed to regional, investors.
Construction is brisk as well, with more than 6,600 apartment units delivered in the last year, and more than 9,400 slated for this year. Most of the new projects have been in urban-core Minneapolis, but Downtown St. Paul is attracting new projects as well.
Accolades For the Market Just In The Last Month Or So
Cities are ranked by dozens of metrics, and Minneapolis gets its share of top rankings. Just since the holidays, the city has been tapped as the second-best place to visit in 2018 (Swirled), the second-most-intriguing place to visit in 2018 (SmarterTravel), the 20th most caring city in the U.S., the 10th best city for an active lifestyle and the fifth best metro for STEM professionals (all WalletHub).
Valley Fair's North Star ranked as fourth-best new amusement park attraction (USA Today), and, according to CBS, Minneapolis has the third-best sledding hill in the U.S., at Theodore Wirth Park, though admittedly the city has natural advantages in that ranking over places like LA, Houston or Atlanta.
Not The Greenest City In The Country, But Pretty Green
In WalletHub's ranking of green U.S. cities in 2017, which compares places using 22 key sustainable indicators, Minneapolis came in at a respectable No. 12 out of 100 markets.
The rankings were based on four broad categories: environment, transportation, energy sources and lifestyle and public policy. Minneapolis was No. 1 in transportation.
The city did well considering its share of commuters who drive, average commute time by car, Walk Score, Bike Score, miles of bicycle lanes, its bike-sharing program and annual excess fuel consumption (that is, congestion).
Bonus: Twin Cities Fun Facts
— The Minneapolis Skyway, which encompasses 69 downtown blocks, is thought to be the longest continuous skyway system in the world.
— Minneapolis-St. Paul is the third-largest theater market in the U.S. and is second only to New York City for the most live theater seats per capita.
— Minneapolis has the highest number of golfers per capita in the nation.
— An average of 10,000 cyclists use Minneapolis bike lanes each day, and Bicycling magazine named the city the No. 1 bike-friendly city in the nation.