The curtains will close at Block E's movie theater later this month, leaving downtown without a movie theater for the first time since 2002.
An AMC Theaters spokesman, Ryan Noonan, said Wednesday that the 15-screen theater will close at the end of the day on Sunday, Sept. 23. AMC didn't want to move, but lost a legal fight with building owners earlier this year to extend their lease.
AMC is the latest in a string of retailers to move out of the complex on 6th Street and Hennepin Avenue, which opened in 2002 after receiving a massive city subsidy.
Among the remaining tenants are the Shout House piano bar, Kieran's Irish Pub, Jimmy John's and Starbucks. Of those, only Shout House is located inside the building.
Block E owners Alatus LLC tried usuccessfully this year to get state sign-off on opening a first-of-its-kind casino. The development firm is now moving forward with "Plan B," which involves transforming the complex into heavily branded office space.
An Alatus representative said earlier this month that there was nothing new to report on the progress of "Plan B."
Other tenants that have closed doors at Block E in recent years include GameWorks, Applebee's, the Hard Rock Cafe, Borders books, Bellanotte and Panchero's Mexican Grill.
But the building still holds a 555-stall underground parking garage, which helps owners (including the adjacent Graves Hotel) pay the $1.7 million annual obligation to service debt.
What's become of the building is a far cry from the high hopes city officials had for its success in 2002. In a 2002 op-ed piece in the Star Tribune, then-recent mayor Sharon Sayles Belton wrote, "There's light at the end of the tunnel, and it's coming directly from Block E. Let it shine."
The last time downtown was theatherless was in 2002, during a gap between the closing of the Skyway 6 Theaters and the opening of Block E.
Pictured: A screengrab from Alatus LLC's website, illustrating their plans to move forward with "Plan B," a heavily branded office space.