Block E renovation: Wolves, Lynx, new restaurants

JANET MOORE | Updated 11/25/2013

Retail complex to be reconfigured with basketball practice facilities, restaurants, offices.

Rendering of the remodeled Block E building as seen from Hennepin Ave. and 7th St.
Courtesy RSP Architects

The Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx have announced that they’ve signed a letter of intent to locate a training facility at Block E, the nearly vacant retail complex in downtown Minneapolis.

The owners of the structure, located at 600 Hennepin Ave., said Monday the news is part of a broader announcement involving Block E’s renovation, which will also involve “new restaurant and office tenants in the recast property.”

The project will focus on enhanced security, convenience, exterior and interior improvements, an improved tenant mix and a redesign, said Phillip Jaffe, partner with Provident Real Estate Ventures, the asset manager for owner Camelot LLC, in a news release. The cost of the renovation was not quantified.

However, the owners said they will not be requesting public financing or subsidies for the private development. Camelot LLC said it is on track to repay the remaining tax-increment financing of $13 million that was used to develop the property by 2019, seven years ahead of schedule.

RSP Architects has been retained to design the building’s exterior and interior core renovation, which is expected to be completed by 2014. The “sophisticated ‘Minneapolis modern’ aesthetic will be in keeping with other contemporary buildings downtown, including the Guthrie Theater and the recently renovated Millennium Hotel,” the firm said Monday.

In addition, Provident has hired Jones Lang LaSalle to assist with office leasing and CBRE-Chicago to handle restaurant leasing efforts. (Current tenants include Kieran’s Irish Pub, The Shout House Dueling Pianos, Starbucks and Jimmy John’s, all of which will remain.)

Nearly 120,000-square-feet of “reconstructed, high-ceilinged, well-daylit space” will be available at skyway and street levels, Provident said.