Block E (archive)

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writruth
Nicollet Mall
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Block E (archive)

Postby writruth » June 4th, 2012, 3:41 pm

From today's Biz Journal:
A multimillion-dollar deal struck by the Shakopee Mdewakaton Sioux Community with a local horseracing track could kill the push for racino legislation.
The deal partners Canterbury Park Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: CPHC) with Mystic Lake Casino and ends the push for a racino — a combination of race track and casino — or a casino in downtown Minneapolis or at Mall of America, according to the Star Tribune, which did not name sources.
The deal is retroactive for this past season and starts at $3 million this year and increases to $6 million next year. Over the 10-year period that the deal exists, the tribe will pay out about $80 million.
The tribe agreed to the deal, sources said, because they believed they would lose more money than they are paying out to Canterbury had a racino been built.
Running Aces in Anoka County, which Canterbury Park had previously been partnered with for the push for a racino, is not included in the deal, the sources told the newspaper.


Although the above story predicts today's agreement between Canterbury and the Shakopee Mdewakaton Sioux effectively deals a death blow to plans by the Alatus group to transform the moribund Block E site into a high-end casino in downtown Minneapolis, I'm not so certain.

It seems this might just be the initial necessary agreement needed to ally the economic concerns Canterbury racetrack required to preserve it's survival. However, now that Canterbury's survival is apparently preserved under this deal, what's to prevent an agreement by another Minnesota tribe from partnering with Alatus to develop it's own casino deal?

I think prospects for a Bellagio-style downtown Minneapolis casino will turn on how well the new urban casinos succeed in Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio. If they exceed revenue projections a year from now, look for a renewed push for Alatus and Minnesota to try to cash in on what could amount to a windfall of revenue for the developer, State and the City.

Sadly, the result could very likely be another two years of Block E remaining a beached ghost ship on the shoals of our great metropolis.

4-d
Metrodome
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Re: Block E Casino

Postby 4-d » June 5th, 2012, 10:14 am

I still think that a downtown casino is a bad idea. Especially there where there is already an issue with crime.

I think pointing to Cleveland and Toledo as successful mid-west cities with a casino is ridiculous.
^ 4-d

mplsjaromir
Wells Fargo Center
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Re: Block E Casino

Postby mplsjaromir » June 5th, 2012, 10:22 am

Pittsburgh and Detroit have urban casinos and there fiscal fortunes have not turned around. Downtown Minneapolis would not benefit from a casino.

min-chi-cbus
Capella Tower
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Re: Block E Casino

Postby min-chi-cbus » June 5th, 2012, 10:56 am

4-d wrote:I still think that a downtown casino is a bad idea. Especially there where there is already an issue with crime.

I think pointing to Cleveland and Toledo as successful mid-west cities with a casino is ridiculous.
I live in Cleveland and it MIGHT actually benefit the city here, but it's really tough to measure. Now, I don't think it'll bring in new sources of tax revenue necessarily, I think it'll just disperse the existing regional tax revenue differently. What it HAS done is make downtown a more interesting place to be for MORE hours of the day/night. Now instead of going to a game and going home people can hit the casino and then maybe the bar. In Minneapolis, there are already tons of options for entertainment and plenty of establishments to choose from, so I'm not sure a casino would focus regional entertainment in the downtown area much more than downtown already does. If anything, it'll take money from the middle/lower classes to fund city projects, and I'm personally not in high favor of raising taxes on those socioeconomic classes.

It's the reverberating effects that a casino brings to an area are where the major benefits lie, IMO.

mullen
Foshay Tower
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Re: Block E Casino

Postby mullen » June 5th, 2012, 12:24 pm

number one: legislature isn't going to expand gambling.

number two: the only hope developer had for a downtown casino was tied to vikings stadium funding. the stadium issue has been resolved without it.

developer needs to focus on other concepts for block e. the casino ship has sailed.

4-d
Metrodome
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Block E (Not casino)

Postby 4-d » June 5th, 2012, 1:37 pm

Now that it has been resolved that there will not be a casino in the Block E location, what should go there? Personally, I would like more store fronts at street level, maybe a Best Buy or a Cub Foods... There has been discussion of a media company buying high visibility office space here.

Hopefully someone wants to come anchor this thing so that we can get a renovation...

That has got to be in the plans, right?

What do you think?
^ 4-d

Jez
Block E
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Re: Block E (Not casino)

Postby Jez » June 5th, 2012, 2:35 pm

I would LOVE to see something totally mixed-use so we don't depend on one entity in this space. It should be office (to gaurantee day time foot traffic), retail (to add to the vibrancy of the street and create security/eye's on the street), residential (to create a critical mass of invested citizens that actually care about their surroundings becuase it's their home), entertinment w/maybe an IMAX Theatre and/or an art Cinema (like The Angelica in NYC). It should also be a structure (or structers) that are welcoming to the street/eye, not a big fortress such as City Centre and the current Block E edifice. I think the retail s/b at street level w/some necassary skyway connections

This is such an amazing oppurtunity for someone to create something really special for the city and the region, I hope that those involved make an educated decision.

John
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Re: Block E (Not casino)

Postby John » June 5th, 2012, 4:29 pm

Jez wrote:I would LOVE to see something totally mixed-use so we don't depend on one entity in this space. It should be office (to gaurantee day time foot traffic), retail (to add to the vibrancy of the street and create security/eye's on the street), residential (to create a critical mass of invested citizens that actually care about their surroundings becuase it's their home), entertinment w/maybe an IMAX Theatre and/or an art Cinema (like The Angelica in NYC). It should also be a structure (or structers) that are welcoming to the street/eye, not a big fortress such as City Centre and the current Block E edifice. I think the retail s/b at street level w/some necassary skyway connections

This is such an amazing oppurtunity for someone to create something really special for the city and the region, I hope that those involved make an educated decision.

I think you are right on the mark with this block. Having it mixed-use ( with the uses you describe) would be fantastic. I am very passionate in my feeling there should be more housing right in the core of the entertainment district. This is the perfect place to put it! I also think this block would be a great location to relocate the old art deco interior of the Forum Cafeteria in City Center and locate it very prominently on the street level of Hennepin. I did like the casino proposal , but it now looks like a huge fizzle. The developers need to "get over it" with their casino proposal and move forward.

Tyler
Foshay Tower
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Re: Block E

Postby Tyler » June 5th, 2012, 4:36 pm

I still want them to demolish the entire half along Hennepin and build something else. Maybe even split the block with a pedestrian walkway and line it with restaurants, bars and/or retail.
Towns!

min-chi-cbus
Capella Tower
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Re: Block E (Not casino)

Postby min-chi-cbus » June 5th, 2012, 7:10 pm

4-d wrote:Now that it has been resolved that there will not be a casino in the Block E location, what should go there? Personally, I would like more store fronts at street level, maybe a Best Buy or a Cub Foods... There has been discussion of a media company buying high visibility office space here.

Hopefully someone wants to come anchor this thing so that we can get a renovation...

That has got to be in the plans, right?

What do you think?
Agree. How about a "Tech Mall"? Apple, Best Buy, Microsoft, Sony, etc. I think that would FLOOD the street with foot traffic most of the daytime, and if done right, mix it in with food and drink establishments that keep the activity busy all night. I'm sure these places would rather be on Nicollet Mall if they were to be anywhere downtown, so concessions would have to be thrown their way for sure.

In general, the spot needs to feel busy, safe, and approachable to be considered successful.

Didier
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Re: Block E

Postby Didier » June 5th, 2012, 7:22 pm

Count me among the group who doesn't want to see a big box store or a grocery store in this space. That area on Hennepin is all lit up with theaters, restaurants, dance clubs, etc. Whatever goes in at the ground level needs to mesh with the "entertainment district" that's already there.

I think there are plenty of opportunities that would work for the upper levels, including but not limited to offices or a high-profile upscale movie theater.

There are two huge blocks just south of here that would make a perfect place for mixed use residential/grocery store etc. I think Block E should focus on still being somewhat entertainment-focused.

Chef
Landmark Center
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Re: Block E

Postby Chef » June 5th, 2012, 9:58 pm

I wouldn't be shocked if much of Block E eventually became office space, along the lines of dead malls like City Center or Town Square in St Paul.

mulad
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Re: Block E

Postby mulad » June 6th, 2012, 7:48 am

Block E really should do something to open up their skyway level to allow relatively small pocket businesses there. The foot traffic through the skyway is enormous, particularly in the morning and evening as people go between the downtown core and the B/C ramps (and the Hawthorne/A ramps to some extent). A coffee shop could probably make a killing there, and it'd be a good spot for a dry cleaner or alteration service. That goes against the whole "entertainment district" idea, but people could use some run-of-the-mill businesses there.

John
Capella Tower
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Re: Block E

Postby John » June 6th, 2012, 8:24 am

Didier wrote:Count me among the group who doesn't want to see a big box store or a grocery store in this space. That area on Hennepin is all lit up with theaters, restaurants, dance clubs, etc. Whatever goes in at the ground level needs to mesh with the "entertainment district" that's already there.

I think there are plenty of opportunities that would work for the upper levels, including but not limited to offices or a high-profile upscale movie theater.

There are two huge blocks just south of here that would make a perfect place for mixed use residential/grocery store etc. I think Block E should focus on still being somewhat entertainment-focused.
I agree there should be entertainment oriented retail at the street level. I think there are many options and/or mix of uses for the upper levels that would work. My biggest hope for block E is to get rid of that dorky faux historical architecture along Hennepin and put in something more interesting to look at. I'm very curious about those vacant lots on the southwest and southeast corners of Hennepin and 5th. Would be great to see them filled up.

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Nick
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Re: Block E

Postby Nick » June 6th, 2012, 8:26 am

Here's a link to a really good article on "entertainment districts" by someone I'd seen on Minnescraper in the past, he writes for Strong Towns, also a really good website.

http://nathanielhood.com/2012/05/06/avo ... districts/

The lesson being that very, very few attempts by any city at forcing an "entertainment district" ever succeed.

Tyler
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Re: Block E

Postby Tyler » June 6th, 2012, 8:46 am

Nick wrote:Here's a link to a really good article on "entertainment districts" by someone I'd seen on Minnescraper in the past, he writes for Strong Towns, also a really good website.

http://nathanielhood.com/2012/05/06/avo ... districts/

The lesson being that very, very few attempts by any city at forcing an "entertainment district" ever succeed.
That not exactly analogous. Block E wasn't creating anything. It was attempting to extend/connect the "naturally-occurring" entertainment districts of Hennepin and 1st but obviously failed. You can't throw block E in with a completely artificial multi-block project like Power and Light. They are failures for completely different reasons IMO.
Towns!

John
Capella Tower
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Re: Block E

Postby John » June 6th, 2012, 9:18 am

Nick wrote:Here's a link to a really good article on "entertainment districts" by someone I'd seen on Minnescraper in the past, he writes for Strong Towns, also a really good website.

http://nathanielhood.com/2012/05/06/avo ... districts/

The lesson being that very, very few attempts by any city at forcing an "entertainment district" ever succeed.
Yes, and you see a textbook example of this "forcing" idea so glaringly evident across the street with the ailing City Center complex/ architectural monstrosity. This was the city's failed attempt at trying to create a huge retail hub on Nicollet Mall in the 1980's.
It's interesting that all the successful development going on (to the south and north of Block E on Hennepin) is smaller scale and very diverse in activity and uses. Much more succesful economically and from an urban design point of view. I think I remember the developers of Block E said they had a much more modest "plan B" if the casino concept didn't work out. I think their "plan B" should proceed.

Tyler
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Re: Block E

Postby Tyler » June 6th, 2012, 9:40 am

Plan B was office space with a really really really really big sign for the tenant. What they did to the first floor would make or break it.
Towns!

John
Capella Tower
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Re: Block E

Postby John » June 6th, 2012, 9:52 am

Whatever they want to do with the upper levels is fine IMO. They have to make the complex work financially as an investment. The main issue for me is to have the street level relate well with Hennepin Ave and the surrounding theater district. It should open up to the city, engage with the pedestrian, and be fun to look at.

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Nick
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Re: Block E

Postby Nick » June 6th, 2012, 10:14 am

John wrote:Whatever they want to do with the upper levels is fine IMO. They have to make the complex work financially as an investment. The main issue for me is to have the street level relate well with Hennepin Ave and the surrounding theater district. It should open up to the city, engage with the pedestrian, and be fun to look at.
Bob Lux bought the place for a nickel, he wouldn't have to try too hard to make money off of it. While Block E is a much smaller example than the Power and Light District, it's kind of the same idea. I mean a lot of the specific points Nate mentions in the article also happened with Block E, even if he then uses Hennepin Avenue overall as a "success story" (which I wouldn't necessarily agree with, hence quotation marks).

And I would also repeat what I've said before, which is that most people in the metro area with disposable income and the desire to spend it aren't going to pick Block E over Arbor Lakes or Mystic Lake or Valleyfair or whatever, regardless of how pretty/fun Block E is, if the Hennepin and 7th bus stop situation isn't resolved. Not to mention Nicollet and 7th.


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