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Block E In Downward Spiral As Theater Closes

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(credit: CBS) Esme Murphy
Esme Murphy, a reporter and Sunday morning anchor for WCCO-TV, h...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The movie theater located in downtown Minneapolis’ troubled Block E closed its doors on Sunday night.

This leaves the development, which the city of Minneapolis put $40 million into in the late nineties, almost empty. Among the few tenants left are Kiernan’s Pub and a sandwich chain.

Block E, which opened in 2001, cost a total of $139 million to develop. Two years ago, in the midst of the “Great Recession”, the Minneapolis-based real estate company Alatus bought it for the bargain price of $14 million. Alatus owns the entire block, with the exception of the Graves Hotel.

A spokesperson said, “Alatus is reviewing a number of development options for Block E, and they will be announcing them at the appropriate time.”

Alatus did tell us that the proposal that was floated last year for a downtown casino at the site has been shelved. It would have required an amendment to the state constitution, and had almost no political support.

Minneapolis Police told us the vacancies have led to a drop in crime in the immediate area. A passerby named Anne Lukaska said she would love to see some new tenants.

“I work in the area and I wish there were not necessarily restaurants, but some lower budget places to get lunch,” Lukaska said.

Block E is a sore spot for many in the City of Minneapolis. WCCO tried to contact city council members, the Mayor’s office and the Downtown Council – none of whom responded.

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