The owners of Block E and Minnesota state legislators unveiled plans for a new state-run casino at Block E Wednesday.
Alatus LLC along with head of the Minneapolis Downtown Council, Sam Grabarski, and Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove proposed “Minnesota Live,” a plan to transform the struggling entertainment block into a gambling arena that could potentially draw tourists from across the Midwest to Minneapolis.
Since Alatus LLC bought Block E last summer at a discounted rate of $14 million, the company has been discussing the redevelopment plan with other major downtown and privately owned businesses.
The construction of a new luxury casino downtown would require a minimum of $200 million in private investments.
If the project is approved, it would be the first time a gambling profit would be subject to local and state taxes. Supporters say the casino would generate between $100 million and $150 in tax revenue each year for the state.
The redevelopment has faced opposition, including from Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. Republicans remain divided on the issue.
Since Block E opened eight years ago, several businesses at the site have closed, including Gameworks, Hooters and Borders.
Adding a casino to Block E requires state Legislature approval. Kriesel will sponsor the House bill to introduce the plan at the Capitol. No official hearing date has been set.