About Us

Urban Works president and owner Michael McLaughlin has been helping business leaders work together to achieve their goals for more than 19 years. Mr. McLaughlin has served as an association executive for several business organizations, including the Minneapolis Downtown Council, the Loring Business Association, the Southeast Business Association and the South Hennepin Business Association.

As the leading expert on Special Service Districts in the state of Minnesota, Mr. McLaughlin has the distinction of forming and managing more service districts in Minnesota than anyone. A Special Service District allows business owners in a defined area collectively assess themselves to fund enhanced services and special amenities to the high standards of the private sector. Enhanced services typically include safety services, district cleaning, sidewalk snow and ice removal, landscape maintenance, marketing and promotions, seasonal decorations, and other maintenance of public spaces. Special amenities often include distinctive streetscape fixtures and street furniture. These enhanced services and special amenities and are over and above what a municipality ordinarily provides.

As the Vice President of District Services for the Minneapolis Downtown Council, Mr. McLaughlin researched and led the efforts that created Minnesota’s largest Special Service District, the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District (DID), with an annual budget of more than $6.5 million.

From 2004 to 2010, Mr. McLaughlin also served as the administrator of the Nicollet Mall Advisory Board which oversaw the care and management of the Nicollet Mall in Downtown Minneapolis with a $1.2 million annual budget. Until the formation of the Downtown Improvement District, the Nicollet Mall was the State’s largest Special Service District and dated back to 1963.

Urban Works also advises more than a fifteen other Special Service Districts in Minneapolis with combined annual budgets of more than $1 million.

Partial List of Current and Past Clients, Projects, and Task Forces

  • Executive Director of the Loring Business Association
  • President of the Southeast Business Association
  • Executive Director of the South Hennepin Business Association
  • Former Vice President of District Services for the Minneapolis Downtown Council
  • Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District Formation and Management
  • City of Minneapolis – Self-Managed Special Service District Policy
  • City of Minneapolis – Access Minneapolis Transportation Executive Committee and Steering Committee
  • City of Minneapolis – Industrial Land Use Policy Committee
  • City of Minneapolis – Mayor’s Business Roundtable
  • City of Minneapolis – Skyway Advisory Committee
  • City of Minneapolis – Minneapolis Unwrapped Committee
  • City of Minneapolis – Downtown 2030 Planning Committee
  • City of Minneapolis – Target Field Wayfinding Project Implementation
  • Downtown Minneapolis Retail Recruitment Program
  • Downtown Minneapolis SafeZone Camera Program
  • Downtown Minneapolis SafeZone Radio Link Program
  • Downtown Minneapolis Banner Program Management
  • Central Corridor LRT Business Resource Collaborative
  • Central Corridor LRT Marketing Steering Committee
  • Southeast Economic Development Steering Committee
  • University of Minnesota District Alliance
  • University of Minnesota Stadium Area Advisory Group
  • Greater Northside Business Association
  • Loring Business Association
  • Lyndale Avenue Business Association
  • Southeast Business Association
  • South Hennepin Business Association
  • Stadium Village Commercial Association
  • Uptown Association
  • 54th & Lyndale Special Service District
  • Bloomington-Lake Special Service District
  • Central Avenue Special Service District
  • Chicago Avenue South Special Service District
  • Chicago-Lake Special Service District
  • Dinkytown Special Service District
  • East Lake Special Service District
  • Hennepin Theater District Special Service District
  • Linden Hills Special Service District
  • Lyn-Lake Special Service District
  • Nicollet Avenue South Special Service District
  • South Hennepin Special Service District
  • Stadium Village Special Service District
  • Uptown Special Service District
  • West Broadway Improvement Special Service District
  • Nicollet Mall Pedestrian Mall Management
  • Washington Avenue Streetscape Improvement Project
  • South Hennepin Streetscape Improvement Project