MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Once the epicenter of entertainment in downtown Minneapolis, Block E is now struggling to stay alive.

Now, the developers of the struggling Block E are prepared to join the stadium debate — placing a wager that they could be the saving grace.

From his 28th floor offices in downtown Minneapolis, Bob Lux can see the future. Lux and his business partner, Phillip Jaffe, are promising jobs, tax revenue, large crowds and safety.

They envision a downtown renaissance powered by a high-end casino.

“We want people to come from Fargo or Minot or Sioux Falls. They come because there is a casino and we got the hotels here, but they really experience the entire resort activity of downtown Minneapolis,” said Lux.

Jaffe and Lux say their Block E casino would draw 5.6 million visits a year and 15,000 every day.

Licensed by the state, but privately owned and operated, they say the casino would generate an estimated $600 million in revenues annually. Additionally, it’d all be funded with private — not public — money.

“People got to remember: $100 million payroll, 2,500 full time jobs. That’s a big deal,” said Jaffe.

Block E developers say their casino will draw a completely different crowd than Minnesota’s Indian casinos.

Tribal casinos have older gamblers, while theirs would be younger.

Also, they say the downtown casino is far enough away from Mystic Lake in Shakopee that it wouldn’t affect job levels at either location.

“There’s Whole Foods, and you’ve got Cub. They both draw a very different group of people. Yet, they both serve a very same purpose,” said Lux.

By coincidence, the Block E offices overlook the Linden Ave site in west downtown that some would like to use for the Vikings.

A casino could add critical mass for a new sports and entertainment district.

Pat Kessler

Comments (33)
  1. Oh you betcha says:

    The Block E developers are only trying to save their own butts by trying to ride the coattails of the stadium issue. They’re dishing out more hogwash than Zygi has.

    Oh sure, people are going to flock from Minot, Fargo, and Sioux Falls to gamble at a casino in Block E. I don’t think so. Each of those cities has several gaming options that are a lot closer than Minneapolis and as far as experiencing the “resort activity of downtown Minneapolis” – where did you come up with that rainbow and pot of gold? The other gaming options have a lot more to offer than downtown Minneapolis as far as “the resort experience” is concerned.

    Keep both your hands on your wallet, taxpayers. You now have pickpockets coming at you from every direction! And don’t let Dayton or Rybak guard your chicken coop either – unless you’re trying to get rid of your chickens.

    1. Chris K says:

      “guard your chicken coop” My lord, we are in 2012, move on. This would be a great addition to Downtown, plus it would equalize an otherwise legal monopoly.

    2. Sonjay says:

      Yeah we need to stifle development and pray to the liberal gods for more debt! Great thinking now go drownd yourself in a toilet.

  2. Altavista says:

    No! Not in our neighborhood! And, any politician who supports this can expect to be booted out of office.

  3. Sandy says:

    Downtown is already dirty and gross, why make it worse?

    1. TC says:

      That is a common suburban myth. The south side of downtown near the dome and hospital is shady, but the rest has a relatively low crime rate for a large American city. Also it is clean.

      1. been there, done that says:

        TC, I used to work in that area and you are wrong. It is VERY dirty with the striip clubs, puke on the side walks, blood from last nights fights, spilled drinks, papers blowing in the wind, and the locals that beg for money. It was a running joke that if you worked until after dark, you better have a change of clothes in your office, because you risked your life it you tried to go home after dark. Yes I am the epitome of “white flight” and live in the suburbs, but when I worked down town I took every opportunity to work from home solely for my personal safety .

        1. Tony says:

          Well shouldn’t we work to fix this supposed problem then?

          1. Sandy says:

            And a dirty gambling establishment is just what we need to fix it! Oh and another big ol stadium too!

        2. Fasty says:

          You’re flat-out wrong, and there’s plenty of data to support TC’s opinion and almost none to support yours. The fact that you throw out “white flight” so readily tells me that race and fear is your real problem. The fact is that if you are not in a gang and aren’t doing a drug deal, you’re more likely to be eaten by a tiger downtown than being a victim of any sort of serious crime. But anyone who has your attitude toward downtown and its residents is more than welcome to stay away. We won’t miss you infecting our home with your racism.

          1. fingers mcgee says:

            Data to support his opinion? Good gawd, dingus, just take a walk through there. Anytime, day or night. Sorry, I’ll take Fargo, Minot, or Sioux Falls any day.

            And a Block E casino? Come on, who ya think your kiddin’?

            I agree with the first poster, the developers are as single-minded as Zygi is – they’re out for their own backsides and nothing else. They have a dump on their hands and need to find a way out without losing a fortune. Their way out is to sell you a casino idea, just like Zygi is trying to sell you beer and tailgating.

            An IQ exceeding 25 isn’t necessary to see this.

            1. Sonjay says:

              Ahh more liberal genius as to how to spur economic growth. So should we add more art to Hennepin? I’m sure everyone from the surrounding areas is coming here for plays, sculpture garden, and other liberal BS you morons keep demanding money be wasted on. Maybe we need to spend more on welfare mothers to crank out more kids to “hang out” downtown.

          2. been there, done that says:

            Fasty, I know that anyones personal experiences that are not in line with your beliefs are to be mistrussted, attacked and then insulted. I really do understand that you can not handle that your little panacea is not what everyone else wants and the mere mention of your progressive dream failing is reason to push people away. I am a minority and have many white friends as well. so, no I am not racist and I did not run away because I was afraid of minorities. I will stay away until I return to working downtown and then when it starts to get dark out, I will take my paycheck and income and spend it where I feel safe.

  4. Van says:

    The myopic views of the congenital naysayers fly in the face of the can-do spirit that once made Minneapolis a great city. And if we are not careful, their provincial thinking will be our undoing. If you listened to the report: 2500 permanent jobs, a hundred million dollar annual payroll, what looks like a 70-story convention-style hotel that would dramatically upgrade our Minneapolis skyline! Let’s seize this opportunity to propel Minneapolis into the future. We need to attract thousands of new residents and visitors to our downtown. The new stadium and hotel could be just the catalysts to aid in doing so.

    1. mannex67 says:

      The metrodome did nothing for the area around it. NO, rebuilding a football stadium will not be a good investment for taxpayers.

    2. Fasty says:

      I’m with you on the stadium and hotel, but a downtown casino is tacky and unwelcome. I’m a downtown resident, and I really don’t want it here.

    3. phillip sent me says:

      Van? Don’t you mean Bob or Phillip? You are a shill on this board, posting for yourself.

  5. RIII says:

    Block E was never an epicenter of entertainment in downtown Minneapolis. It is an example of the stupidity that happens when elected idiots think they know how to spend others people’s money better than the ones that earned it. As a casino it will only take money from the people that cannot afford it and attract the worst of the subsidized mass transit crowd…

  6. not citizen says:

    How will they build this momument to greed? Will we have to give them money and tax breaks to build this, so that we can tax it into oblivion to not have to give money to Ziggy Wilf to build a football stadium? How much more money do we all get to pour into this “block E” to build others peoples failed dreams?

    I am for a casino down town minneapolis to get a little competition and tax revenue going, but years back Don Laughlin offered to build it with no tax breaks and he promised 50% taxes and minimum annual revenues to the state, but of course our wonderful elected officials at that time, turned up their noses at him.

  7. build this please... says:

    Lets get this done. I live in DT Mpls and would love a REAL CASINO. No more of the monopoly for the tribal casinos. We need real games, no more video garbage. If you don’t like the casino, you are more then welcome not to go. Please don’t tell me how to spend my money. They should also put the Vikings stadium on the farmers market site. Make a whole stadium complex with Target Center, Target Field and probably Target Stadium.

    1. Sean says:

      “Please don’t tell me how to spend my money.”

      What a fool. They don’t want to put this to a vote because THEY want to spend YOUR money for you.

      1. really, build this, please says:

        It would be privately funded,…. Money from the Casino would pay for the stadium. It would generate jobs and money for MPLS and the state. You are probably one of those people that have no problem giving money to the “Arts” . Enjoy going to the Cowles Centre, a huge waste of money.

  8. travis says:

    “Licensed by the state, but privately owned and operated, they say the casino would generate an estimated $600 million in revenues annually. Additionally, it’d all be funded with private — not public — money.”

    read before you start spouting off about your tax dollars going toward projects you don’t agree with.

    1. yes masta says:

      So sorry, glasshoppa, but you have much to learn. You start at the beginning and know that because they say it does not make it so. Rainbows can appear to be pulled from the intestines of a camel but it is still camel dung.

  9. Gambling Money not for stadium says:

    I can live with a casino but why is it fair to spend the revenue on a stadium? Why not other things? How about lowering our Hennepin County property taxes. Seriously, the stadium should not get first priority for gambling revenue. I work in downtown and have for several years and the the whole Hennepin coridor area from the public library (aka the homeless hangout) well down past Block E is downright scary. If ever a person wanted a conceal and carry permit, this would be the place to carry it. The busses bring the bl@cks in, they hang out all day and leave in the evening. You will curse democrats after a while of working downtown and seeing what social engineering has accomplished.

    1. Fasty says:

      Wow. Racist much? Please feel free to explore the options of whiter states. Utah, Montana, the Dakotas, Iowa would all love to have you, and we would love for you to go. Maybe Canada would be even better?

      1. alfalfa says:

        Oh please, are you running a little short of cash before your next welfare check comes? It is what it is, you can’t change it by denying it.

      2. Sonjay says:

        Ahh Fasty I see you can’t really claim downtown as your home if you’re slumming from shelter to shelter. I know you really like hangin with ya peeps who spread economic growth to the crack heads and heroin addicts. I love dat kinda diversity!

  10. Jill says:

    They “reiterate”?
    Let’s try this: 2+2=5, 2+2=5, 2+2=5.

    Ok, I reiterated…does that make it true?

    Repeating lies do not make them true. The local media jackals are pathetic lapdogs.

  11. LDS says:

    “High end casino” meaning they’re going to try to keep the rug rats out lol. No public money is to be spent, so whats the problem?? I enjoy going to Mystic and Treasure Island for get aways. But on a typical friday night when I don’t want to travel far, I can mosey on downtown. It will create jobs and the reality is whether theres a casino or a herbergers built, there will always be some form of negative activity downtown, and why do people pretend like it’s extremely dangerous in downtown minneapolis anyways(?) crime is inevitable no matter where you are even in the suburbs, but geesh it isn’t that bad and I don’t see how a casino is going to make it worst. Let’s be real downtown minneapolis is already the center of night life with night clubs/bars and concert venues etc..so adding a casino is just going to add something else to do for the very same people who visit downtown regularly and in addition to those who lives on the outskirts.

  12. College Student says:

    there is no such correlation between a casino and crime. Crime IS inevitable in any downtown region. If you are too scared to go downtown, then don’t come. Tons of people flock to downtown every weekend despite the “crime”. Besides, a casino would have a little more added security than any sort of club or bar. So these “shady” people you speak of will probably be forced to move to another area of downtown. And for all you whiners about paying taxes for it, READ the ENTIRE article. PRIVATELY funded not PUBLICLY funded. So kick rocks ya bunch of Nancies.

  13. Best3800 says:

    LDS and College Student, YOU GUYS make too much sense! If they build high-rise casino, people could go down sat. night,stay in the hotel and then walk to the new Viking stadium sun. morning to tailgate, same thing with the twins,people from out of town would make it a weekend stay like the MOA. Or Mystic.