No Block E openings delayed by rescheduled hearing

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September 10, 2002 // UPDATED 1:30 pm - April 30, 2007
By: Kevin Featherly
Kevin Featherly

Final approval of Block E, 600 Hennepin Ave., has been delayed two weeks at the developer's request. But it doesn't appear any business openings will be significantly delayed as a result.

Developer Dan McCaffery is contesting a Planning Commission requirement to build an outdoor escalator leading to the complex's skyway level on the 1st Avenue North side. The City Council was to hear the appeal Sept. 13, but it was postponed.

Councilmember Gary Schiff (9th Ward) said McCaffery requested the delay as a good-faith gesture to show that he is working out a way to pay the city a required $277,650 fee for streets and sidewalks blocked during Block E's construction.

Schiff said the two-week hold would delay certificates of occupancy for businesses not already open. But he said that probably would not delay the opening of any Block E businesses, such as the Borders bookshop, which is scheduled to open Sept. 28, a day after the rescheduled council hearing.

Sue Bonin, Block E's general manager, said she has been informed of no delays. Merwyn Larson, director of inspections for the city of Minneapolis agreed there are not likely to be any delayed openings.

"Nothing has ever slowed them up yet on this project," Larson said.

McCaffery had already worked with councilmembers on a proposal to eliminate the escalator requirement in favor of an exterior fire exit with additional windows. Other escalators inside Block E will take visitors to the skyway.