‘Block E’ Casino Complex Plans Unveiled

By Holly Wagner, WCCO-TV

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.

More from Holly Wagner
  • Don Anderson

    Our beloved Indian community has had a long & financially rewarding run.
    If themembers are not well off fy now = they never will be!
    And they will still make a great living but with a little competition – surprised its taken this long to make this a state money maker and great for MINNEAPPLE!
    GO gaming – lets balance the biudgets state and natiional – this is a bigger threat to our nation than the terrorists!

  • Carol DeMerritt

    This is a great idea. I think it would be a major draw and a boost to our budget. Think of the people at Concerts and … downtown that would go there

    • Independant

      Think of the gang bangers and criminals that already surround that block.

  • Roofus

    Great idea, hopefully this would push the unsavory element out of downtown and into their holes.

    • Jim

      Yeah, drive out those unsavory theater and concert goers and bring in the degenerate gamblers. Sounds like a winning strategy.

      • Roofus

        Hey Jimbo have you EVER been 3 blocks east of the theaters on any Friday or Saturday night. If not, any gambler would be a welcome site, compared to what slime you see now. And if you think I am profiling….you’re absolutely right.

        • Jim

          Yes I have and I don’t disagree that it’s not exactly safe down there after dark. But how is adding a casino going to drive criminals away? Makes no sense.

          • Nikki

            The casino will bring more jobs, so people won’t have to be homeless and I’m sure there will be way more protection than they have now. I’m so sick of people going hungry and being homeless because no one wants to hire them, people don’t choose to be homeless, jobs are just not willing to hire unless you have a major degree.

  • Pat

    It’s about time we got a casino in downtown Mpls. It will not only help with the state revenue but add thosands of jobs and bring more people to the downtown area through the casino and help with the convention market as well. This is a win/win for the state and the people who live here!

    • Independant

      How is this a win-win? Do you have any idea how active the drug trade is at 7th and Hennepin?

      • Mike

        Have you ever even been downtown?? I walk the area all hours of the night. Its nothing like it used to be. I feel safer there in some small meth town in rural Minnesota!

        • kevin

          Its safe and only safer with casino

  • pepper

    Bring back Moby’s.

    • Chas

      That would be great .I could use a whale of drink right about now!

  • Sharon

    Mystic Lake is already considering lifting the Tribal ban on alcohol service if this passes the legislature. Should be interesting.

  • Al

    Don’t forget, millionaires need more money.

    • dan


      We have seen the same line on every article you comment on…………….
      This is a privately funded deal. No govt handouts. Its OK for someone to take a risk in business. If they fail they lose lots of money. If they win the get to reap the rewards. Dont be bitter just because you do not have the same drive and ambition as other people. God knows if they make any kind of profits you will have your hand out asking for a piece of it!

  • Jeremy

    Get this deal done!! There are too many empty building down there and E-Block is losing money. This would increase jobs and business bringing in more tax money to the state and lessen the deficit. It’s about time that the general public benefit from Casino money and not just a select few.

  • GOP hoe down

    Brilliant idea — just what the downtown area truly needs.

    More reasons to hit the clubs, walk out the door and start stomping on a head or shooting someone. Then off to the casino – few more hours of getting wasted and then back out on the street to start it again.
    Come morning when the folks from the ‘burbe come in for work they’ll find a few bodies, a bunch of street ho’s still wandering around, more litter and needles and condoms than ya can count. They can play hop scotch as they skip around the debris.
    Another perfect reason to add more vice to the Minne-Chiity-aolis.
    You gotta love the GOP …. they’d seel their momma’s off if it brings in a buck. Follow the money folks, follow the money ….. ;-)

    • GOPSUX

      Maybe you meant to write you’re an idiot. You’re welcome, idiot.

  • mike

    I agree, bring back Moby’s.

    • Rev. Abe Bachmann

      I forgot about the infamous Moby’s —- it be a perfect fit, right there near the casino. Expand the Gay 90’s too – call it the Gayest 2011 Club. That would go with our #1 ranking for the gayest.
      Can we get a Red Light District maybe too?
      Might as well consider a legal smoke house to but some pot too. It’ll be there anyway – might as well capitalize on the tax and cash it creates.
      Add some toll road access coming in off 94 and 394 too – and we cannot forget the required parking since they say 5.4 million will come.
      I plan on opening an ammo and maybe a gun shop in the area. My neighbor that he can make a bundle providing security to folks when they depart the place _ especially at night when he’ll triple the rates.
      This is exciting as heck – maybe we can reclaim our fame as Murder-apolis even!?
      Oh the joys. Thank you sponsers for this. Kuddos to the High and Moral GOP folks who have totally changed their stance ! YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

      • BMW

        Just wanted to amend your checklist for the new downtown….
        How about allowing some cat houses/massage parlors again, and a new pawn shop or two. Then if anyone wants to go out and be decadent, they can cover all the bases in one trip.

        • BMW

          oops… you had red light district covered. I like your ideas better than the state :-)

  • A well-travelled Minnesotan

    World-class cities do not need gambling / casinos. No more to say.

    • St Paul

      Minneapolis isn’t a world class city.
      Last I checked, it’s just as dirty as Seattle.

  • Chris

    So Canerbury Park has been lobbying for a racino for years and actually has a good track record as a viable business but can’t seem to make headway on the issue. Then a complete failure of a business, Block E, comes along and says they want to be a casino and everyone is all for it. This makes no sense. I’m all for the expansion of gaming but Canterbury Park deserves it before the failed Block E.

    • Independant

      That’s because Canterbury is a stones throw away from Mystic.

  • Steve Carlton

    The cost in crime and social problems will eventually prove grambling in Minneapolis to be a very bad decision. WCCO please do some research and you will agree.

  • TF

    I’m taking wagers on long before this, like everything else in block E fails.

    Over under of March 2014 (Assuming it won’t be complete until 2013…

  • Dawn

    I have lived near Atlantic City and outside of casino towns in Colorado. The money the casinos make does not stay in the area.

    Atlantic City is a unpleasant slum with glitzy casinos and a boardwalk. Poverty can be seen everywhere. Some of it makes its way to the famous boardwalk, with a lady who can only move her head and neck using her tongue to play an electronic piano. Other similar sad performances make their way to the boardwalk. People go in and out of Atlantic City by bus. They gamble at the casinos. They eat at the casinos. If they stay in Atlantic City, the casinos either provide lodging or price breaks at specific hotels.

    In the Colorado towns that opened themselves up to gambling, the little towns were stuck paying for the additional sewer and water required by the casinos. Taxes went up, and most of the lifetime residents were forced to move out of their homes because they could not afford the high taxes. The casinos did not make the little towns prosperous. The money went out of town. The casino towns in the mountains were transformed into places with a cheap gaming identity. One can hear the sound of the slot machine before entering the town. Many of the residents have moved and the way of life has been transformed forever.

    Whatever money comes to the Twin Cities from a casino on Block E, that amount will be more than offset by problems that the casino creates. Casinos have not made other communities rich, why would Minneapolis be the exception? The nearby airport offers gamblers who want to explore the Minneapolis casino a quick way to get in and out of the Twin Cities. High end gamblers don’t really care about the fishing opener or a snowmobile competition. That is not going to interest them, particularly if the temperature is -30 F.

  • Kally

    I support having Running Aces and Canterbury for casinos so you can get out of the city and have free parking. I will never go to this Block E casino. I would be afraid to ever go there at night and make a long walk from/to my car. What a super bad bad idea. How would you ever park with in a mile of the place when the Twins are at Target field?

    • William smells a stink

      The concept surely includes the notion that the Twins fans will rush from the park, see that they still have $13.07 remaining in their pockets and will scoot straight to the casino to win more. lol
      We have more than enough in the way of casinos already in this state. If that is not you thing we have lottery(s), pull tabs, you name it in the way of charitable gambling too.
      I agree with poster above — follow the money on this one as it is not needed, hence it’s special interests involved somewhere and grabbing a ton of profit.
      6 years we will be bailing it out like everything else.
      May as well add maybe another NFL team and a NHL one since we are being stupid

  • Morgan

    This is SUCH a great idea!! I can’t think of a better way to stimulate the economy in Minnesota, increasing jobs and helping with the state budget. Minneapolis, especially Block E, is in need of a major facelift and I think our whole state would benefit from the increase of tourism traffic. Let’s get this bill pushed through NOW!!

    • Cindy

      Morgan….who do you work for… no way you are not connected with some company/person who would benefit from this…

    • Jim

      Anyone who can’t think of a better way to help the economy than putting a casino in Block E must not be trying very hard. Why would the whole state benefit from increased tourist traffic on one block of downtown Minneapolis when there are already like 15 casinos in the state? Absurd.

    • Independant

      All of these people praising the Casino… likely the same person working for a marketing firm hired by Bob Lux.

  • Ali

    …Block E has lost a number of high-profile tenants in recent years… why do you think this happened? E Block is completly the wrong place for a casino. This will not bring in business but only cause other businesses to fail more…

    • LR in a safe burb to the west

      Ali —- don’t use logic and common sense here. It’s not allowed.
      Instead inhale deep, drink the GOP kool aid, don’t talk morality issues for now as it doesn’t fit, I mean don’t you think this would be a charming family atmosphere and good for all to enjoy safely _ it will put Minneapolis on the map! We soon will be more corrupt and sleazy than Atlantic City and that’s a good thing

      My hat is tipped to the imbeciles we elect. You all continue to amaze me to no end

      • stillobvious

        1 downtown casino and we’re more corrupt than atlantic city? wow i hope you people dont have children because you’re so unintelligent you shouldn’t even care for yourself

  • St Paulian

    Thats not a very “lefty” thing to say there mr. liberal.

  • Jim

    Why should the state “stop worrying” about what some of its citizens think?

    This is the Republican plan to balance the budget? More gambling? So far we’ve gotten abortion, football stadium, and gambling legislation proposals from the newly empowered GOP. Is this what the people of Minnesota want?

    • mw

      Can you imagine the traffic jams if there was a casino downtown?

      • MARK

        Busloads of elderly people wearing name tags and blocking intersections during rush hour on First Avenue just before a Twins game. Sounds great.

      • Independant

        How would the traffic be any different than what it was before? Please explain…

        • NRA Member2

          Hmmmm . they claim it will bring 5.4 million people
          Now let us add up – one by one – the amount of people within the TC’s.
          Short huh ? Imagaine that – so they will (right) be coming from elsewhere.
          Now we still are not up to date like the Jetsons so I imagaine it will require —- wheeled transportation. Imagine that idea – or do you think they’ll all walk there Independant? Ok-maybe them walking.
          Somehow a means has to be there to get this mass of sweaty people there. Or are you more honest and realize that no one will come – like everything else that’s been there. The novelty is done and so is the traffic.
          Oh the brains behind this thing >>> my 2nd grader have more sense than this band of morons. ;-)

          • captainobvious

            I dont think they plan on all 5.4million coming once, most gamblers dont gamble 1 time a year, called repeat business, the novelty is done? so a hooters and a borders for example equal a casino, new shops and new eateries. Heres the obvious its not costing the taxpayer a dollar to try this yet there are possible rewards, how many have you been to las vegas their whole street is lined with casinos, ive never been harassed except for the call girl cards they hand out, guess what when i leave the twins games i get handed 5 diff. cards for strip clubs and dance clubs, only the indians fear this, and a few frightened residents it will still be safer than north minneapolis or brooklyn center

    • captainobvious

      Jim you’re not greasing the politicians pockets therefore what you want and think don’t mean NOTHING

      • Jim

        How do you know whose pockets I’m greasing?

  • St Paul

    As much as I would like a casino closer, nothing would make me MORE happier to give my money to the state rather than Indians.

    Security BETTER be good around there because EVERYONE KNOWS what kind of people hang around Block E.

    A bunch of dirtball losers waiting to rob people for sure.

    Backing GOP 100%. Applause!

    • Jim

      You’d rather give your money to the government than Native Americans, “dirtball losers” hang around Block E, you think a casino should go there anyway, and you love the GOP. Seems about right.

    • adam

      GOP indeed…A little prejudice???

  • Brett

    Expand gaming at either one of the two cardrooms or build a casino on block E. As far as crime in that area,you know the police will clean it up-it can be done.
    More than anything we need money for our state and end the native monopoly on gambling.
    Make no mistake about it,either would create better jobs as the native casino’s do not pay thier employees well.

    • truth hurts

      Native casino’s can pay white people below minimum wage if they want to. FACT.

      • Jim

        How many people are forced to work at casinos in this state? I forget…

      • adam

        Might want to check your FACTS…the truth does hurt!

        • Jim

          So people ARE forced to work at casinos for less than minimum wage? They aren’t allowed to quit and get other jobs? I like facts, I’m still waiting for you to post some.

          • adam

            Jim this wasn’t directed at you. Just a comment at the person who posted before you. My uncle actually works as a hiring manager at a casino in the area, so after talking with him here’s one fact. Employees are hired at minimum wage at the least, much like other jobs experience does factor in as well as performance. So to answer you sir…no one is forced to work at casino, however they are not an exception to state of federal employment laws.

    • adam

      Brett you need to do some homework before your fingers type. The city of Minneapolis cannot keep up with its crime downtown now, they have to hire in OVERTIME county sheriffs to man the area on weekends. Then when your done looking that up you’ll soon find that it would cost the area more in taxes and fees just to keep the casino running. I’m just a uneducated college kid, but who knows I might take your job some day :)

      • stillobvious

        The only time county sheriffs work minneapolis is special events and crackdown you chk your facts, and your a college kid, lol i feel bad for you im a laborer and i have 7 college degree guys on my crew, better learn a trade, i tried college but was offered a job that i could make the same without school, like the other 7 at my work realized. Do people plan on walking from north minneapolis to get to this casino, I walk around that are all the time, 0 fear

        • adam

          Looks like your college kids are in the wrong line of work…I’ll be just fine after I graduate in a week. Can’t knock you for your career choice, but you have a choice. WRONG again Sheriffs are brought in every weekend to work the streets due to the short numbers Minneapolis police have on duty…Do your homework on this one sir. You also cannot control what area groups of people hang out in within the city. I grew up in the city and know a lot first hand…You?

          • stillobvious

            3 teachers , a business manager, a it tech, and never asked the other 2, ah to be 20-22 and so unaware of the real world gl kiddo. if you graduate in 1 week then you should already have a job or you are in trouble

            • adam

              Actually I do with KPMG…one of the big 4 firms, that what happens when you attend the Carlson School of Management! Let’s see teachers are out due to budget cuts, business manager probably the economy, IT tech not 100% sure. That leaves you… I gonna say you are middle of the road with income and you just didn’t have what it took to make it in college and you took the easy way out. By the way how’s that pension and retirement plan? Of course there’s always the fact that some people just can’t cut it in the real world, which does include college!!!

    • Independant

      “As far as crime in that area,you know the police will clean it up-it can be done.”

      That’s the dumbest thing I have read yet. The Minneapolis Police has been trying to clean the area up since the place was built.

  • LC

    I work at a tribal casino and while I’m not completely for the idea purely because it could take away my job, I’m more concerned about the dangers and addictions that gambling perpetuates. I have sat by and watched multiple people come to the casino on holidays because they have no where else to go or else answered many calls of family members searching for their family members at the casino because they’re so addicted. Is this really how we should be stimulating the economy of the state by taking away others’ income while they wastefully gamble it away? Not to mention, gambling can easily lead to other addictions within the casino too. It amazes me that the state would even think about making a casino as an option.

    • optomist

      There are plenty of casino’s and plenty of people looking for work, how would it take your job away?

      Also, if it has a liquor license then you are still safe so the 18 yr olds can go to the other casino’s.

  • Jim

    Wow, your argument is SO convincing. I know I’m on the right track when I reduce internet tough guys to personal insults. Is that all you’ve got?

    No, I don’t want a casino downtown, but instead of going away I think I’ll contact my elected representatives and let them know how I feel. Thanks for the motivation.

    • minneapolis dog

      Yeah cause that will do a lot for ya. HA

  • Chris

    When the gov’t wants to force a tax down our throats, many of you can’t get behind it fast enough. Now, when people might be given a CHOICE on how to give their money to the state, you gripe. Tough having it both ways, eh? Apparently it’s only o.k. to take our dollars the way you want them taken to be spent on what you want them spent on. I’m betting (pun intended) many of you are typically “pro-choice”. How about some consistency?

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