Wolves and Lynx eye Block E for expansion

Downtown Minneapolis' Block E (MPR photo/Nate Minor)
Block E
Downtown Minneapolis' Block E (MPR photo/Nate Minor)

The Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal's John Vomhof is reporting that the Timberwolves and Lynx are looking at the potential of putting a practice facility in the mostly-vacant Block E.

The retail complex has been eyed recently as a potential site for a high-end casino by Minneapolis developer Bob Lux. That was ahead of the Vikings stadium deal and was a long-shot option for funding that stadium.

Now, another pro sports option is emerging for the space. The Business Journal says the Wolves and Lynx say the 12,000 square feet of practice facilities they have at the LifeTime Fitness in Target Center is less than half the space most NBA teams have. Timberwolves executive Ted Johnson also said the teams are thinking of moving their corporate offices to Block E.

Hopefully they'll fare better than Applebees, the Hard Rock Cafe, Borders, Hooters and Gameworks -- the other high-profile tenants in Block E that have gone dark in the last four years. The ambitious $170 million real estate development opened in 2002, with the help of city subsidies and flourished briefly, but is now mostly empty.

The move also comes as Lifetime Fitness is planning a multi-million dollar upgrade of the 155,000 square feet o f space it leases there. The company announced in February it signed a 12-year lease extension at Target Center, including an upgrade estimated by Finance and Commerce in the range of $4 to $6 million.

There's still no definitive word yet, though, on the renovation of Target Center, which was authorized in the Vikings stadium bill last year. City and team officials say they're still discussing the scope of the project.


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