Strengthening Communities Through Tenant Diversity

August 5, 2021
Fostering authenticity and connection in commercial spaces.

From the corner grocery shop to your favorite authentic restaurant, the businesses in a neighborhood shape the way we interact in our environment. But how do we ensure that these spaces reflect the values and authenticity of a local community?

Considering the diversity of tenants in commercial spaces plays an integral role in placemaking, fostering a connection between community members and their environment.

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Over the past ten years, the population of color has grown faster than the non-Hispanic White population. We see this trend in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, and the U.S. as a whole. More than 890,000 people of color currently live in the Twin Cities region, and this figure is expected to exceed 1.8 million before 2053, according to data compiled by Compass.

As our communities continue to diversify in the coming decades, it is imperative now more than ever that our businesses reflect the changing and evolving places in which we live.

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For more than 70 years, Paster Properties has owned and developed properties across the Twin Cities. Creating value by connecting retail and housing opportunities with community needs is a pillar of the organization's mission.

When selecting tenants for a commercial property, examining the demographic of a population is key to building an authentic and representative experience.

Chad Shaw, Vice President of Finance and Operations at Paster Properties, iterates, "We live in a diverse world. Most of the communities we operate in are diverse. It's important that there's a connection between the business community and the residential community."

From 2019 to 2020, Paster Properties undertook an extensive reimagining of the Texa-Tonka Shopping Center in St. Louis Park. As plans for the redevelopment unfolded, it became apparent that there was high demand for more dining options in the area. Now, the property is home to local restaurants and businesses, with owners representing a diverse set of backgrounds reflected within the neighborhood.

In the spring of 2021, family-owned Brito's Burritos opened in the Texa-Tonka Shopping Center. The restaurant serves diners an array of Tex-Mex favorites, including burritos prepared with fresh-made tortillas. Many of Brito's employees are relatives who both work and live in the area. The family's passion extends beyond their menu offerings and fosters a connection to the community and patrons they serve.

The authenticity of a local business, like Brito's, brings vibrancy to the retail environment. This intimate atmosphere and bond to the community are difficult to replicate in a corporate setting.

Paster Properties strives to support local and diverse businesses by engaging community and project stakeholders to help achieve mutual success. Their approach to development emphasizes collaborative planning, long-term ownership, and a willingness to invest in the neighborhoods they transform. As a third-generation company, Paster aims to lend their expertise and experience. From connecting businesses with trusted SBA lenders to recommending a contractor or advising on marketing elements like a company's name or signage, Paster wants tenants to thrive. Keeping an open perspective and a collaborative attitude goes a long way in creating successful relationships with business owners.

Alex McDonald, accounting manager shares, "We want to be a part of a community. We want people to feel welcome coming into our shopping centers and residential spaces."

The places where we live, work, and play are at the heart of a community — they strengthen our relationship with the world around us. Placemaking, when done right, can help neighborhoods and retailers alike thrive when commercial spaces reflect the diversity of their customers.

To learn more about Paster Properties' portfolio of projects, please visit our Places page. If your business is looking for leasing information at one of our Twin Cities properties, we'd love to hear from you!


606 Washington Avenue N.
Suite 400
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(651) 646-7901