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Jerky maker Jack Link's plans to open restaurant, retail center in Minneapolis

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Jack Link's is beefing up its presence in Minneapolis.

The popular beef jerky company will be moving into the new Mayo Clinic Square, where it will open an "interactive retail center," a bar and restaurant, a product innovation center and office space, the company announced this week.

Construction on the 78,000-square-foot space is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, the release says.

The company, which is based in Wisconsin, already has an office in Minneapolis. But with this expansion, Jack Link's expects to grow its Minneapolis team from 150 to 300 employees. (Click here for information on job openings.)

"I'm pleased we can retain up to 300 jobs downtown through a growing, innovative company like Jack Link's," City Council Member Jacob Frey said in the announcement. "We are finally moving away from massive square footage restaurant spaces. The future of retail and dining is smaller, more manageable spaces and I'm confident that the negotiated deal with Jack Link's will reflect these goals."

Mayo Clinic Square is located on Sixth Street and Hennepin Avenue downtown. When the area was known as Block E, it continuously struggled to maintain tenants.

By adding Jack Link's to the complex, the street level of Mayo Clinic Square is now filled, Frey posted on Facebook, noting his "big goal" was to break up the space, activate the street level and retain jobs – something the city has achieved.

Phillip Jaffe, of Camelot LLC, which owns the square, said in the release there are now three "internationally recognized anchor tenants" – the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine, and the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx training facilities – in Mayo Clinic Square.

He added that this is a "testament to the vibrancy and health of the downtown Minneapolis business community."

Specific details on what the retail and innovation center will be like haven't been released, but the Star Tribune says Jack Link's is creating a "Times Square-like experience" with its retail space, and also plans to open a test kitchen.

The company also plans to team up with with Minnesota's professional basketball teams to "create exciting opportunities for our fans," Chris Wright, the president of the Timberwolves and Lynx, said in the release.

Jack Link's says it will release additional details about the new space at a later time.

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