East Town Development Work Group


The Minneapolis Downtown Council’s Intersections: The Downtown 2025 Plan is a planning vehicle to help leaders and citizens build on Downtown’s assets and guide its development in ways that reflect the community’s aspirations for a Downtown Minneapolis that is thriving, livable, green, connected, exciting and welcoming in the decades ahead.

The mission of the Downtown Development Committee is to focus on goals around downtown population and business growth (including retail), and connections to the University of Minnesota. The two business organizations collaborating together on East Town Development are the Minneapolis Downtown Council-Downtown Improvement District and the East Town Business Partnership.

Three priorities: 1. Be the champions for East Downtown. 2. Define how to get development happening. 3. Create a compelling vision.


  • Study and recommend best practices for holistic and sustainable 21st century urbanism in regards to development, public realm, and place making initiatives.
  • Interact with and advocate for current high priority projects in the district.
  • Cast vision for new development projects on strategically important land parcels.

Key Perspectives:

  • Planning and Design (Physical frame)
  • Policy and Governance (Regulatory frame)
  • Cost and Funding (Financial frame)
  • Projects and Critical Path (Implementation frame)
  • Narrative and Recruitment (Marketing frame)

Stakeholders at the table:

  • Leadership from all key sectors (development, civic, architectural design, business recruitment, land owners, financial, etc)

Levels of Engagement: 

  • Small Working Group, Listening Sessions, Workshops, Open Houses, Placemaking Residencies

Core Disciplines:

Research development assets, set annual objectives, and track progress and interconnectivity to other 2025 committees and working groups for the following built environment perspectives:

  • Retail
  • Equity and accessibility
  • Residential
  • Commercial
  • Hospitality
  • Parks
  • Green Infrastructure and Riverfront
  • Transit
  • DID/Crime and Safety
  • Placemaking and Programming
  • Public Policy (Development standards, incentives, “master development area”)



Dan Collison is the Director of the East Town Partnership for the Minneapolis Downtown Council-Downtown Improvement District and the Executive Director for the East Town Business Partnership. Collison is a visionary interdisciplinary leader who has been instrumental in catalyzing new business growth and forging strategic collaborations between diverse business voices, civic leaders, and the emerging residential communities of downtown Minneapolis. His holistic leadership style has been forged over 25 years of professional work in the fine arts, non-profit, and business sectors. 

Professional Collaborators

David Fields, Consultant

David Fields presently is working as a consultant for Minneapolis CPED on development in Downtown East Minneapolis. From 1998 to 2014 he was Community Planning and Development Coordinator for Elliot Park Neighborhood, Inc. In that capacity he served as project manager for the Elliot Park Neighborhood Master Plan and administered the business of the many citizen development and design review task forces that engaged with a variety of development proposals in Elliot Park. Mr. Fields has served on a number of advisory boards and committees including: City Council appointee to the Vikings [Peoples] Stadium Implementation Committee and The Downtown East Commons Park Committee; a member of the Minneapolis Zoning Board of Adjustment; an officer of the Central Community Housing Trust (now Aeon) Board of Directors; a member of the Technical Advisory Committee for the City’s Downtown East/North Loop Master Plan. He has a doctorate in American Studies from the University of Minnesota and teaches workshops and colloquia in the Urban Studies Program at the University.

Ben Shardlow, Director of Public Realm for the Minneapolis Downtown Council-Downtown Improvement District

Ben Shardlow is Director of Public Realm Initiatives. He is the staff lead for the MDC 2025 Greening & Public Realm Committee, and an active participant in other committee work relating to public space improvements downtown. He identifies opportunities for 2025 Plan initiatives to be advanced through active public and private investments, and directs special public space improvement projects for MDC/MDID.

Mark Remme, Director of Communications for the Minneapolis Downtown Council-Downtown Improvement District

Remme is in his third year as Communications Manager with Minneapolis Downtown Council and Downtown Improvement District overseeing website content, public relations and social media. He is a proud University of Minnesota graduate who admits half his closet is Maroon and Gold. He graduated from the U with degrees in Journalism & Mass Communication and History. Mark spent 10 years as a sports journalist covering high school sports, the Gophers and most recently the Minnesota Timberwolves before joining the MDC-DID team. Mark has always believed in and been drawn to the importance of downtown Minneapolis in our region, and he is eager to help lend a hand in creating an extraordinary downtown for all who live, work and play here. He and his wife Brittany are both born-and-raised Minnesotans who love living here with their dog, Maddie.

Carletta Sweet, Board Member, East Town Business Partnership and Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association

Carletta is co-owner of a small business consultancy based in the Downtown West neighborhood of Minneapolis where she also resides.  She promotes public and private sector collaborative relationships that foster affordable housing, business development, and cultural as well as educational opportunities for the residents, businesses, employees and visitors to downtown Minneapolis.  To accomplish these goals. Carletta has been instrumental in forging relationships with:   the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association on whose board she currently serves as its representative on the East Town Business Partnership; 2020 Partners on which she currently serves as the DMNA representative; the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership on whose board she currently serves as the Central Riverfront neighborhood representative; the Above the Falls Citizen Advisory Committee on whose board she currently serves as the Central Riverfront neighborhood representative; and Aeon on whose board she served as chair.  Carletta joined the East Town Development Group at its inception in July 2014 to assist in making the downtown neighborhood attractive, safe, economically viable, and a great place to live, work, play and visit, similar to what she experienced during the renaissance in the late 1980s and early 1990s in the South Loop and Burnham Park downtown communities of Chicago, Illinois.  She brings a rich historical perspective of the issues that impact the East Town community.