Reporting Holly Wagner
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Developers have unveiled their plans for turning the Block E entertainment complex in downtown Minneapolis into a casino.
The project, called Minnesota Live by the Alatus LLC firm, calls for the site to be privately financed. It would cost a minimum of $200 million to develop and construct.
Alatus proposes transforming the Block E site into a luxury casino complete with restaurants, retail shops and a 60,000-square-foot rooftop terrace with amenities.
Developers of the project, including the founder of Alatus LLC, Bob Lux say it could become ‘the engine of downtown Minneapolis’, driving people into the city.
Developers estimate a revamped Block E could draw an estimated 5.6 million visitors into the Twin Cities every year and add thousands of jobs.
The sketches show the corner of Seventhand Hennepin with a three-story bright, glass atrium. At the top of the building would be a 60,000-square foot roof-top terrace with botanical gardens and waterfalls.
According to the plans, the state would run the casino. Project developers said the casino could contribute an estimated $250 million in revenue every budget cycle.
Legislation will be introduced by Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, and Sen. Doug Magnus, R-Slayton, on Thursday to expand the Minnesota State Lottery to include the state owned and operated gaming facility in downtown Minneapolis.
Minnesota’s Indian Gaming Association has been opposed to the expansion of any type of gambling. In a recent interview, spokesperson John McCarthy said any expansion of gambling in Minnesota would take jobs and business away from their industry.
Block E has lost a number of high-profile tenants in recent years, including Borders, Applebee’s, Hooters and Gameworks.