Block E casino plans unveiled [PICTURES]

Categories: Business
Casino1.jpg
Minnesota Live
A rendering of the proposed downtown casino
After months of rumor, developers' plans to transform Block E into a massive casino were finally officially unveiled today.

Alatus partner Bob Lux says Block E's fatal problem to date has been its reputation as a rough-and-tumble spot.

"Safety was the main concern," Lux said. "It's what is keeping people from the suburbs from coming to downtown Minneapolis."

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Bob Lux of Alatus
The solution, Lux said, is to replace the menacing riff-raff with a young and wealthy crowd of out-of-towners drawn to a new massive gaming complex on the Block E site, complete with gambling facilities, restaurants, bars, and an open-air rooftop deck featuring with pools, waterfalls, and "botanical gardens."

The casino development will be good for the city and the state, Lux said. If executed, the project will create between 450 and 600 temporary construction jobs, and as many as 2,800 permanent gaming jobs.

A 3 percent city tax would channel $13 to $15 million annually to city coffers, and the state would stand to make $125 million each year in tax revenue. Traffic to the new destination would generate 85,000 additional hotel-room nights per year.

Of course, all these statistics come from an impact study commissioned by Alatus, the people who want to build the casino. The study was conducted by the Innovation Group, a New Orleans-based consultant for the gaming industry.

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State Sen. Doug Magnus and State Rep. John Kriesel
Lux and his partner in Alatus, Phillip Jaffe, hope to have at least part of the new casino complex up and running as soon as next spring, with the full project complete the following year.

But before that can happen, the state will have to change its laws to allow gaming outside of Indian land. State Sen. Doug Magnus and State Rep. John Kriesel have signed on to sponsor this legislation, which is slated to be released tomorrow. The bill would authorize the state Lottery Board to explore locations for a state-run casino.

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City Council President Barbara Johnson
But the legislation's passage is anything but assured. Tribes who run existing casinos worry the Alatus plan would steal their customers and jobs. Some are also worried about the social costs of expanding gambling in the state.

Notably absent from the parade of supporters at this morning's presentation was Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, who has already spoken against the plan.

But Alatus has lined up the support of City Council President Barbara Johnson, who told City Pages this morning that if the legislature can change the law, she'll work to line up support for the Alatus plan on the City Council.

Here are some renderings of the proposed casino:

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44 comments
Live casino
Live casino

Interesting pictures of e casino. If it will successful than it looks really beautiful. I am waiting for that day when I will visit E casino.

Lavalampluva
Lavalampluva

As much as I would love to see a casino downtown, I just can't see it happening.  The tribes have deep pockets and will pay politicians big bucks to stop this from happening. 

Julio Kenyette
Julio Kenyette

I say bring it on. We need something new to hit the City. Besides I dislike the long trips out to Mystic and T.I.

Bill Ashton
Bill Ashton

I don't agree with people saying it will bring more thugs.  A Casino would have more security around the perimeter preventing that plus it would get rid of the mall that they all like to hang out in. 

I wonder how much money Mayer RT Rybak has pocketed from the Indians to be against this. 

I don't even think the Indian Casinos would be effected by the project if done at an upper scale.

David Foureyes
David Foureyes

Do the plans include another billboard with clasped-hands imploring me to pray for something? Perhaps: "Pray for a structure that doesn't look like it belongs in a Scottsdale strip mall."

Has the irony of that thing struck anyone else?

I love that in the perfect world of this rendering, the inclusion of a giant casino still hasn't convinced anyone to move into the long-abandoned Chevy's space...or maybe it's so awesome Chevy's re-opens?

Finally, I love how "thug" has become the new "nigger" to those braying about the young people that inconvenience suburbanites by existing downtown...

Tanktheyank
Tanktheyank

You do not need a new building to clean out the riff raff and invite out of towners. You just need to stop them loitering. There are so many fake wanna be thugs downtown, I say move them to the suburbs. As for out of towners - F*ck em we don't need their suburban bubble - their fake tans, their fake personalities - besides they all would want parking for their large hummers....

Anne T.
Anne T.

Since when did one casino turn Minneapolis into Vegas? Come on. You say you want good restaurants, shopping, shows, and bars that aren't strip clubs. I believe all those things happily coexist in casinos like the Bellagio and the Wynn. Why can't we have THAT kind of presence in our downtown, instead of the outdated current Block E?

Anne T.
Anne T.

I don't think the 3% city tax mentioned above is applied to your income or other regular taxes; the way I understood it, if you choose to gamble, eat, drink, or be otherwise entertained there, the 3% tax will be applied. Otherwise, they've said this place is privately funded.

Block E is prime property currently generating bupkis - and Hooters even failed to pay rent before it was booted out - so why not put in a well-lit, nicely-designed building with a huge terrace and a means to pump tax revenue into city coffers?

You don't like casinos? Go to Target Field, then, and have a great time. Not a baseball fanatic myself, I'll go see Cirque and hope they put in a great restaurant.

URstupid
URstupid

"...And because there would be more stores, restaurants and populated areas, there would be MORE policing. The problem now is that it sits empty, with no end in sight. "

-- incorrect, why not fill the spaces with family businesses and not chain franchises. It's that which is at the root of the problem.

The city should also move the thugs that line the streets around block E .. that would help.

URstupid
URstupid

Block E is ghetto because there are so many ghetto people there. If they are wanting a casino please oh please ensure we can play all casino games. I have no idea why we can't play craps but we can play video poker. If you fill a place with Hooters, Applecrap, and olive crap and all the chain restaurants.. you are going to turn it in to a ghetto. Maybe they should also put a library or museum there and entice the ghetto people to stay somewhere else?

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

Yeah!It's about time we take away the monopoly that is Indian Gaming!

How is that a organization that takes from the poor (and foolish), and gives to the selected rich with in the Indian Gaming community, gets a pass from the Democrat party? Where is the regular "class warfare" from this group. Where is the outcry from the poor forgotten minorities within the Twin Cities?Am I missing something?

Ejanke77
Ejanke77

You know las vagas gambles all day all night i just think as long as the police downtown do there job and the casino has tight sercurity no need to worry as far as the native indians they should not worry because they make plenty money let the state make some for youth programs fixing roads upgrades on the lightrail ect. So many more take all day to list so im for the casino as long the state uses yhe money right

Staciaann
Staciaann

Those renderings make me not ever want to go downtown again. ...and I'm sorry, but I'm not willing to pay ANOTHER 3% in taxes just to get some casino put in that I'll never go to. I'm sick of paying for things like this that should be privately funded. How much money will the Alatus put back into Minneapolis (beyond their casino)? Is there a plan for giving back after we help build? Block E was full of missteps from day 1, and putting a casino there isn't going to change that. The reason Block E failed was because the owners filled it with Borders, GameWorks, Applebees, Hooters and a myriad of other chain restaurants and stores that the surbanites already have and those of us who live in the city try to avoid.

Mistycat
Mistycat

Yeh, Best thing that could happen.

Minus Manhattan
Minus Manhattan

This is a really fucking horrible idea and will further destroy that part of downtown Minneapolis. You can argue about the financial benefits of a casino all you want, but bottom line, casinos are trashy and gaudy. Sure, I like going to Vegas every few years but would I ever live there? Hell no.

What would actually make people come downtown? Good local restaurants, cultural centers, shops, bars that aren't strip clubs. Certainly not a huge eyesore that caters to the false hopes of the poor where gambling addicts sit around like zombies pulling slot machines 24/7.

Downtown Mpls
Downtown Mpls

I completely understand why people may think that by having a casino downtown will only spur more theft and "thugs". But those who think that are not seeing the big picture.

As it sits, Block E is an eyesore, full of empty commercial space, with dismal "for rent" signs lining the street-view windows. What was once envisioned for Block E was a central hub for people to associate going downtown with. Obviously, that didn't pan out, and right now we're left with an unbelievable piece of commercial property that sits mostly vacant.

Having this spectacle of a casino, as depicted in the images, would be incredible for the downtown area. A casino means people would be coming downtown to spend (and sometimes make) money, leading to more retail stores, restaurants and entertainment venues. It would completely rejuvenate Block E and the surrounding area.......And because there would be more stores, restaurants and populated areas, there would be MORE policing. The problem now is that it sits empty, with no end in sight.

If you've ever been to a centrally-city located casino, you would know that policing around the surrounding area of the casino is very important, more important that say that of...oh, empty storefronts and deserted streets.

The bottom line is the effects of having a beautifully engineered casino centrally located downtown would help the surrounding downtown area as well. More money flowing in can only help the city and the downtown district. Crime will go down when you put more businesses in the spaces downtown and more people in the streets.

Mike
Mike

Yeah, opening a casino... That should really keep the thugs away. Free muggings with every jackpot!

Minus Manhattan
Minus Manhattan

The Bellagio has works from Monet and Picasso in their gallery and Daniel Boulud has a restaurant in the Wynn. The reasoning for both is because the scale and funding for these two casinos is absolutely enormous. Simply put, there's no way a downtown casino in Minneapolis could ever come close to providing anything like that because the money isn't there.

And at the end of the day, I still wouldn't want a Wynn or a Bellagio in downtown Minneapolis, but that's just like, my opinion man.

GnarlyDavidson
GnarlyDavidson

"The city should also move the thugs that line the streets around block E" what exactly are you suggesting? I am not sure I am comfortable with your suggestion.

Minus Manhattan
Minus Manhattan

I think they get a pass due to the whole genocide thing.

Phoenix Woman
Phoenix Woman

The Indian casinos are for the most part out in the country and aren't targets of opportunity for drunks or tweakers. They attract a fairly decent clientele.

The one casino that's actually located in a city, Fond-du-Luth, is a sty. You can smell the Sterno drunks at ten paces. I went in there once, and once was enough -- and that's a place that the city and the owners worked hard to try and keep nice. You want to see what the Block E Casino will look like? Go to Fond-du-Luth.

Phoenix Woman
Phoenix Woman

Maybe it's because their casinos, for the most part, aren't located in downtown areas and don't attract drunks and meth addicts?

See the experience of Duluth if you want to see what's in store for Block E if they allow this junkie magnet to happen. Per Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/fond-d...

PrincessC998
PrincessC998

If you go to the website (MinnesotaLive.com) you can read the full proposal: This project will be entirely privately funded, with a large percentage of the revenue tax going to the city, to the state, as well as a fund dedicated to educating people about problem gambling and helping to fund programs to assist problem gamblers.... also, the current owners did not fill that space with those tennants - they were already there when they bought the property....

Wish I was in MN right now
Wish I was in MN right now

The 3% is on every dollar the casino makes, that's 3% of millions of dollars that would come into the state without the state having to pay. So really Staciaann...you'd be reaping a ton of benefits from that money and not having to pay a cent for it if you truly didn't go to the casino...I understand your concern, but you're argument doesn't make any sense.

letsgetthispartystarted
letsgetthispartystarted

Staciaann - The developers are paying for the casino themselves - it won't cost any tax $. Minnesota Live would create 1000s of job and increase tourism (I read on their site it would be like having 77 more conventions/year!) - that's good for Minneapolis AND Minnesota. And the developers are already pretty well-invested in Mpls - they did Grant Park and The Carlyle condos. Can't argue those are a success!

GnarlyDavidson
GnarlyDavidson

At the moment the state is pushing for "at least half" of the profits from the casino, which are projected at possibly $400 million a year. That is of course if everything goes as planned. $400 million isn't bad.

Staciaann
Staciaann

surbanties = suburbanites... doh.

what the whaat?
what the whaat?

How is that part of DT mpls already destroyed? Is it because people don't feel safe there? Or because there isn't anything fun for crowds to do when the Twins are out of town/not playing? Minnesota Live would solve those problems while creating jobs and oodles of tax revenue for the state.

Phoenix Woman
Phoenix Woman

The last two businesses to leave, Applebee's and Panchero's, were doing great business when they shut down.

Staciaann
Staciaann

Actually, I go right by Block E all the time and there are always cops there and the streets are pretty damn full of people. With the Twins Stadium, First Ave, The Pantages, State, Orpheum, etc. right there really aren't any "deserted streets." An empty block of concrete? Yes. Deserted streets? No.

Minus Manhattan
Minus Manhattan

Pro tip: if you're working for the PR firm that represents the people trying to get this passed, identify yourself as such.

Anne T.
Anne T.

I think we can do a lot better than that. Why are we so wary of a little change? Block E has really more of a suburban appeal, with all the chains. If it ends up looking like it does in the designs, then a place like this will add a more cosmopolitan vibe. Just because one "city" casino like Fond-du-Luth, run by a different developer, doesn't make heads turn, doesn't mean this one will fail.

URstupid
URstupid

The thugs that actually just sit around and act thug-like.

Mn Neutral
Mn Neutral

Abe Lincoln hung 38 Sioux in Mankato to make an example of the last Indian War. The tribe at Mystic Lake were aligned with old Abe. That is why they got the better land. The Sioux who went on warpath got the bad land. That old tired "genocide thing " belongs in the trash heap of history. Along with Racism. The country has the 1st black president, the #1 entertainer "Oprah" who makes billions. It is long past time making me pay for past injustice that I had nothing to do with. Your turning me into a Racist.

Phoenix Woman
Phoenix Woman

I suspect Kirk thinks genocide is something Monsanto sells to farmers.

Chi-Town
Chi-Town

If the state pay to get some renovation done to fond-du-luth, then it will not look like that as well! If drunks and homeless people see a place to their standards, of course they are going to hang around it. That casino is just too cheap for all the money it has taken from people! MYSTIC LAKE TAKE THE MONEY AND RENOVATE WITH IT! What is fond-du-luth and Hinckley's problem?

nick
nick

I have to say i have worked in downtown Minneapolis for the last 8 years in many aspects of the service industry from fine dining to nightclubs....i really have to say that any business including a new casino will greatly benefit Minneapolis instead of all guests and employes driving out to prior lake to spend all their $ they would stay downtown and spend their $ here. It will definitely take a great amount of security with a new casino but i'm sure the cost of security will be greatly less than the huge profits a casino can bring in!

Phoenix Woman
Phoenix Woman

Interesting how two very busy Block E restaurants, Applebee's and Panchero's shut down just as the casino scam was ramping up. Was this of their own volition? Will Kieran's be next?

Bill Ashton
Bill Ashton

But when the mall is filled with thugs, why stay open?

CRIBBAGEQUEEN29
CRIBBAGEQUEEN29

IT'S TIME TO TAKE BACK MONEY TO THE STATE OF MINNESOTA INSTEAD OF THE NATIVE CASINO MAKING MILLIONS AND MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS THEY DO NOTHING FOR THE STATE THEY LAUGH AT US ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK

URstupid
URstupid

I agree - one example isn't a general rule - but I do think there should be competition for casino's and one be entitled in saint paul and one in minneapolis. However, block E is a shambles, because it's business model was not sustainable. The casino option is only sustainable if they are able to pull in theatre acts, great food and maintain a standard.

Minus Manhattan
Minus Manhattan

I'm actually floored that anyone could think that racism is nonexistent in present-day America.

Also, it's "you're."

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