Stadium Village businesses welcome Gateway Center

by Nathan Whalen

As the Gateway Center prepares to welcome its first occupants, adjacent Stadium Village businesses look forward to a sales boost.
The center will house about 750 University employees, who area businesses see as 750 potential customers.
This increase will begin next Friday when the University of Minnesota Alumni Association moves in, the first of 15 organizations to relocate to the building by January.
In addition to new employees, the facility is expected to supply Stadium Village with a steady flow of visiting alumni who will stop in at the center to attend meetings and banquets.
The center will also bring regular customers who already work near Stadium Village even closer, hopefully making them better customers, said Julie Wild, manager of Taste of Manhattan.
Regardless of what the center brings, business owners agree that anything is an improvement.
“It’s certainly better than a parking lot,” said Sue Jeffers, manager of Stub and Herb’s, in reference to what was in the Gateway Center’s place until recently.
But the center won’t be as good as Memorial Stadium, demolished in 1988, she said.
Jim Rosvold, the general manager of Campus Pizza, agreed that the center will be better than a parking lot.
“If anyone said they didn’t love it, they’d be crazy,” he said.
Business owners have welcomed the center’s presence partly because they had a voice in its design.
The University consulted with businesses since 1992 to ensure the center met the University and Stadium Village’s needs.
One early concern was the Gateway Plaza project, a landscaped park to be constructed in front of the center by 2001. Currently, a parking lot occupies the plaza’s planned site.
Early plans for the plaza were turned down by business owners who felt it wasn’t accessible enough to the community.
A new plan will better connect the center with Stadium Village and, if approved, would feature a skating rink as a winter attraction.

Nathan Whalen covers facilities and construction and welcomes comments at [email protected].