2025 plan leadership award winners: Washington Square redevelopment a shining example of downtown revitalization

When young professionals are deciding where they would like to work, they often look for a vibrant, forward-thinking environment. Through recent renovations, Washington Square is certainly fitting the bill.

“We wanted to create a market where there was none,” Shorenstein Properties Senior Vice President of Asset Management Ronnie Ragoff said. “We wanted to create an environment where Millennials would want to work—a forward-thinking, modern workplace for progressive organizations looking to attract and retain top talent. With the help of this renovation and the input from our Transwestern leasing team headed by Erin Wendorf, we were able to create this environment.”

When Ragoff and Shorenstein Properties became involved with Washington Square in 2014, they saw a great opportunity to make that vision a reality. As a result, a major renovation ensued and helped create a completely new environment for workers.

This fall, Washington Square is being honored by the mpls downtown council as a recipient of a 2025 Plan Leadership Award. The awards are aimed at recognizing and honoring individuals, organizations and initiatives that help make downtown Minneapolis more vibrant, and Washington Square is an example of that mission.

Washington Square is an office campus that features three buildings, two of which offer landscaped outdoor space. The extensive renovations to Washington Square also brought new amenities as well:

  • Ground floor cafe
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Secure bicycle parking
  • Free fitness center with locker room and showers
  • Zen garden
  • Bocce ball court
  • Pergola with heaters and a gas fireplace

“We saw this end of the market as an opportunity that others did not see,” Ragoff said. “However, we saw the writing on the wall for a bustling community set to evolve in three years. Wells Fargo had just announced construction of a new million square foot campus a few blocks away. The Vikings had just started construction on U.S. Bank Stadium. The city was in discussions about creating a two-block public park. We viewed Washington Square—not as in the middle of a dead zone, but as the center of a T—linking the North Loop and [East Town] and the entire Central Business District extending out before it to the south.”

Washington Square has already attracted new tenants and top talent since their facelift, including ECMC to downtown from Oakdale as well as a large expansion within downtown from JAMF and Code 42. Additionally, the pedestrian connection between the North Loop and East Town has been strengthened through their renewed presence.

“There’s much to enjoy about downtown Minneapolis,” Ragoff said. “The city’s investment in the public realm—Nicollet Mall, The Commons, the stadiums, Light Rail—all of these initiatives will have a major impact on Minneapolis.”

In an area filled with redevelopment opportunity, Washington Square has woven itself within the fabric of downtown. The renovation of Washington Square has been a vital factor in making their neighborhood a livable, walkable, enjoyable part of downtown.

This upgrade naturally aligns itself with The 2025 Plan. Ragoff has two words to describe the 2025 Plan: revitalization and growth. When it comes to Shorenstein’s goal regarding Washington Square, however, Ragoff was bold and determined.

“Our team aims to create the Silicon Valley of Minneapolis,” she said.

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