Friday, September 17, 2010

Let's Hope Minneapolis Doesn't Tell Us It's "Cool" Now

Few top 30 metros have withstood the bad economy of the last few years as well as Minneapolis-St. Paul. Unemployment there is just 6.8%, it's on the verge of becoming the second largest metro economy after Chicago, surpassing Detroit, and a new baseball stadium is bringing 3 million pedestrians downtown every year. Moreover, its economy is rooted in an industry, agribusiness, which is a net exporter and not in the process of being crushed by outsourcing.

Yet somehow a consultant's report is claiming the region isn't on many relocation short lists, and that a regional economic development group will somehow fix this. In DC, we've had regional efforts, most notably the Greater Washington Initiative, that really do little other than provide a way for members to network. Moreover, exactly who do the consultants want to bring to Minneapolis? Another software company with 35 people but 50 press stories about its relocation? Another solar manufacturer who will stay for nine months before heading off to the Philippines? More pictures of lab coat techs staring at test tubes?

All I ask is if this thing gets created, they spare us the "cool city" crap we've gotten from Michigan and that Louisville has picked up on. Rather than attracting new businesses, that's the sort of thing that tells people it's time to leave.

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