HENNEPIN AVENUE – Block E will soon be a thing of the past if owner Alatus has its way. The developer unveiled its plans for the renovation of the ailing entertainment complex today, and as Alatus has been stating for months, an upscale casino is the main attraction. In the renderings of the redevelopment, gone are the fortress-like walls of Block E. In their place are street-level retail, a towering four-story glass atrium and a multi-level rooftop green space. Even the tainted Block E name is gone – the new complex is being touted as “Minnesota Live.”
The $200 million redevelopment plan is being touted by Alatus and the other principles as a solution to Minnesota’s budget problems, citing an estimated 2,400 – 2,800 gaming jobs created, 960 -1,100 indirect jobs such as hospitality, entertainment and transportation and 440 – 625 construction jobs. Research firm The Innovation Group also estimates that the casino complex could generate up to $250 million for the state per biennium.
The Innovation Group also estimates Minnesota Live could bring in 5.6 million additional visitors to Downtown every year and 84,000 more nights of downtown hotel booking. The firm’s research also found that urban casinos are typically not associated with an increase in crime.