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Production and Processing: Expand and maintain areas for production, processing, and distribution of products, services, and ideas.

U of M Winston and Maxine Wallin Medical Biosciences Building
DC Group

A healthy local and regional economy requires space for production and processing businesses. Examples of these types of businesses include, but are not limited to, medical device and electronic instrument manufacturing, breweries and distilleries, food production, metal fabrication, and distribution and fulfillment. Production and processing businesses provide economic opportunities for people without a college degree by offering higher wages than comparable jobs in the retail, accommodation, and food service industries. In Minneapolis, less than half of the Black, American Indian, and Hispanic population has more than a high school education, compared to 83 percent of White, non-Hispanic residents. These educational disparities create barriers for finding employment opportunities that pay a living wage. Production and processing businesses in the region have average monthly starting wages for workers of color that are twice as high as retail businesses and nearly 2.5 times that of accommodation and food service businesses.


Setting aside space for production and processing businesses will help ensure that living-wage jobs in industries with minimal environmental impacts will be available to Minneapolis residents, especially people of color and those without a college degree. Because of high demand for other land uses, particularly housing, production and processing businesses cannot compete for land unless other uses are specifically excluded from some areas of the city. This plan designates Production and Distribution Areas on land that is well-suited to support production and processing businesses, specifically excluding housing and other non-production uses.

Some areas that have been historically industrial are not well-suited to support new production and processing businesses because the existing building stock does not meet the needs of modern production businesses, and they lack the contiguous land to make substantial redevelopment feasible. This plan designates such areas as Mixed Use Production Areas, allowing both production and non-production uses to co-exist.


The City will seek to accomplish the following action steps to expand and maintain areas for production, processing, and distribution of products, services, and ideas.

  1. Designate Production and Processing Areas that comprise large contiguous tracts of land historically used for industrial purposes, that are well-served by transportation infrastructure for both people and freight, and that contain building stock suitable for production and processing businesses to expand access to higher wage job opportunities.
  2. Prioritize use of land in Production and Processing Areas for production, processing and last mile distribution of products and services uses that have minimal or no air, water, or noise pollution impacts, and that provide quality living-wage jobs.
  3. Identify and limit uses in Production and Processing Areas that do not provide a high concentration of high quality, low-impact production and processing jobs.
  4. Designate Production Mixed Use Areas in parts of the city that have been historically industrial, but that are not substantial opportunities for locating and growing low-impact production, processing, and distribution businesses.
  5. Allow both production and non-production land uses in Production Mixed Use Areas.
  6. Establish land use regulations to encourage the adaptive reuse of older industrial and commercial property in Production Mixed Use areas, including to non-production uses.
  7. Improve transit, bicycle and pedestrian access to areas of employment, including Production and Distribution Areas and Production Mixed Use Areas.
  8. Develop guidance for future development in Production Areas and Production Mixed Use Areas served by regional transit lines in order to ensure a minimum level of development and job intensities.
  9. Allow production and processing uses in Commercial Mixed Use areas while controlling for potential negative externalities through building and site design.
  10. Accommodate facilities needed for municipal operations in both Production and Distribution Areas and Production Mixed Use Areas.
  11. Identify and limit new heavy industrial uses that harm human health throughout the city.
  12. Continue and expand incentives and technical assistance to existing production and processing businesses to leverage investments in cleaner, safer, more energy efficient and sustainable technology in order to reduce pollution.
  13. Explore proactive enforcement of City regulations related to pollution and nuisance ordinances.
  14. Focus business assistance for targeted industries in low-impact industrial activities that offer new opportunities for historically unemployed and underemployed residents.
  15. Promote business investment and expansion through site assembly, clearance and redevelopment in strategic areas.
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