• November 7, 2014

Block E in 2007, photographed by Matt Butts

If you were assigned the task of identifying “Ground Zero” of the city of Minneapolis or “the epicenter” of the city, you might pick “Block E.”

Who could imagine a more promising commercial real estate location in the entire city?

So, why has it been a commercial disaster for a long while (with repercussions previously discussed in Minnesota Litigator)?

Someone out there might make some coin (or at least capture my interest) with a Continuing Legal Education class on how this ClusterBlock happened… How can such an obviously valuable piece of real estate be handled so badly?

And Block E’s role in Minnesota civil litigation is not over yet.

A Block E Tenant, Kieran’s Irish Pub, has sued, alleging:

The landlords’ construction activities in connection with their current redevelopment project [their attempt to revive this commercial development fiasco] have significantly damaged Kieran’s business and will continue to do so unless steps are taken to redress the damages and minimize the disruption. In addition to generating an unreasonable level of noise, dust, and debris that intrudes on Kieran’s interior premises and patio and drives away customers, the landlords have or intend to, among other things, usurp possession of Kieran’s patio area; eliminate visibility of the Pub from all sides; close the main entrance to the Pub, force customers and potential customers to find their way to the rear entrance through a construction-fenced corridor; allow dangerous and noxious fumes to enter Kieran’s premises to the point that employees have become ill; cause natural gas service to be disrupted, (thereby creating a potential fire hazard); and threaten to expose Kieran’s premises to freezing temperatures and water intrusion during the winter months. On top of all this, Kieran’s has discovered that the landlords have been grossly overcharging it for utility costs.

That does seem like a lot to put up with when you’re being charged about $36,000 per month, like Kieran’s Pub alleges it is paying.

Somewhere, in the back of some person’s mind (or in the minds of many) are the makings of a Great American Novel in which the narrator sets out a tale, possibly involving greed, stupidity, naivete, miscommunication, corruption, sincere good intentions, and who knows what else, that, combined, resulted in the past ten years of Block E.

Let’s hope that the current renovations lay out the groundwork for a more positive story over the next decade or more…

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