The Star Tribune took to predicting the future in this weekend's paper, with the help of some UST business faculty. "We asked experts across the Twin Cities to forecast the months ahead — or make their best, bold guesses about how life may change this year."
Minneapolis has nothing if not ambitious plans. In December, the city's Downtown Council released its Downtown 2025 plan for the city calling for a Vikings stadium near Target Field to create a downtown sports district, a chain of parks and a resurgence of activity on Nicollet Mall.
It might not all happen, and it certainly won't happen overnight. But some long-stalled projects downtown should finally emerge, including the Lunds supermarket at 12th Street and Hennepin Avenue S. and the redevelopment of a former Jaguar dealership also on Hennepin Avenue S. into a $70 million apartment and grocery complex.
More condominiums and apartments downtown also are possible, said Prof. Dave Brennan, co-director of the University of St. Thomas' Institute for Retailing Excellence.
Unfortunately, St. Paul might not see the same activity, at least in retail, he said. "Downtown St. Paul has diminished in its size and intensity and diversity in retail," Brennan said.
More importantly, St. Paul might lose a key anchor. Macy's has a loan from the city that will only be forgiven if it stays until the end of the year. Brennan expects the store could likely close after that.
As for the future value of your home (if you own one), Herb Tousley, the director of the real estate program here at St. Thomas shared his thoughts that the local market is showing signs of strength:
Distressed home sales in the metro area represented more than 40 percent of all home purchases during November, a steep increase from earlier in the year when such sales averaged about 30 percent, according to the University of St. Thomas. As a result, the median price of November home sales fell 10 percent -- despite an increase (18 percent) in the number of closed deals and a decline (24 percent) in the number of listings.
"This [stalled recovery] is a function of having more foreclosures go through the market," said Herb Tousley, the director of the real estate program at St. Thomas.
But the local housing market, separate from foreclosure listings, shows strength, said Tousley, who said he expects home prices and values to rebound as foreclosures dissipate. "There's not anything fundamentally wrong with the Twin Cities housing market," he said.
What are your predictions for the new year—be they in business or in your own life—let us know in the comments.