Block E got a much-needed boost this week as Irish entrepreneur Kieran Folliard announced that his flagship location, Kieran’s Irish Pub, will relocate to the former Bellanotte space in the struggling entertainment complex.
With 10,000 square feet the new location is 4,000 square feet larger than the pub’s existing location at 330 2nd Ave. S., where Kieran’s has been in business since 1994. Folliard plans on renovating Bellanotte’s flashy interior with a more typical Irish bar motif — that includes transporting local artist John Erste’s signature artwork from the old location to the new space — with a goal of opening on March 16, 2010.
Folliard says the impetus for the move was a shift Downtown caused by the newly completed Target Field. “Our location has served us well over the years, and there are tales to be told and not to be told from our 16 years there,” laughs Folliard. “But clearly with the opening of Target Field things have absolutely swung in that direction, so from a standpoint of traffic and year round business an Irish bar should be at the heart of things. We felt this was an opportunity not to be missed.”
In addition to Kieran’s Irish Pub, Folliard also owns The Local on Nicollet Mall, The Liffey in downtown St. Paul, and the newly opened Cooper Pub in St. Louis Park’s massive West End development.
Bellanotte closed last summer, joining Borders and Escape Ultra Lounge in the Block E exodus that began in 2007. Folliard, who has signed a 10-year lease with two five-year extension options for the new Kieran’s location, says he plans to be part of the complex’s turnaround.
“We have a commitment to reenergize and maybe reposition Block E,” explains Folliard, who says he looks forward to working with neighbors like the Graves Hotel to boost the complex’s profile. “We don’t see ourselves as an island but a committed part of Block E, and we’re excited about it.”