Naming a neighborhood seems like a great idea, once you consider the cachet that comes with something cool like SoHo in New York, or Hollywood in Los Angeles. But renaming a piece of metropolitan land that's already been around a while isn't easy.
Consider "WeDo," the moniker recently affixed to West Downtown (get it? WeDo?) in Minneapolis. That branding effort took some of the busiest, most iconic elements of the city — First Avenue and the Walker Art Center among them — and tried cramming them under an umbrella term that was brand-new to everyone who didn't work on the creative team behind "WeDo."
Now, it's Downtown East's turn. The less-heralded sister neighborhood to West Downtown is undergoing a little renaissance these days, what with US Bank Stadium approaching completion, the adjacent public/private park arriving ... someday, and a number of other major construction projects in the works.
If you're going to be reborn, why, you'll need a new name. The city of Minneapolis, along with the McKnight Foundation, contracted with the local PadillaCRT public relations firm to float a few possibilities for the next name you will be told is the official new name for Downtown East, but will never remember, and will instead say, "Downtown East, or whatever it is we're supposed to call it now."
The Business Journal has the rundown of what the PR team came up with, posting about a couple dozen new 'hood names that are under consideration by the East Downtown Council.
- Celebration Heights, which is explained as a celebration of "health, people, business, sports, community." Basically we're celebrating everything. Including heights.
- E Do, a take on WeDo, and would be one of the easiest names to pronounce for East Downtown's babies.
- Nordic Village, though some speculate this could leave the area vulnerable to raiding bands of actual vikings.
- SoFa, as in "south of Fifth Avenue." Also, an English language synonym for "couch."
That description also fits a couple other ideas that are still in the running: East Downtown and — we kid you not — Downtown East. (Someone paid for these ideas! If you live in the city of Minneapolis or buy anything there, that someone is you.)
The neighborhood council plans to winnow down its list by March and have a new name selected by this summer. Feel free to call it whatever you want until then. And after.