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Continued: Oct. 18: 1988: Block E `demolition' signals high hopes

  • Article by: DENNIS J. MCGRATH , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 25, 2012 - 3:37 PM

But not all of Block E's problems are gone. Moby Dick's, which police called a "literal den of thieves," is angering some residents in the trendy warehouse district, where it wants to reopen under a new name - Melville's - and a more restrictive liquor license, but under the same ownership. A dance theater and artists who work in the building that Moby's wants to move into say they fear that the denizens of Block E will follow the bar to their neighborhood, six blocks away.

The city, the Downtown Council and other groups involved will try again at a council committee meeting Wednesday to strike a compromise over Moby's relocation. A similar problem could occur if, as expected, Ferris Alexander reopens his sex-oriented bookstore, peep show and movie theater complex. It is currently "in storage" while the search for a new location continues.

Some council members used yesterday's event, only three weeks before Election Day, to take a jab at the city charter amendment proposed by Mayor Don Fraser, who was out of town yesterday. The
acquisition and demolition of Block E was a council initiative, not the mayor's, noted Council Member Tony Scallon, chairman of the council's Community Development Committee.

"In the end, it will provide the stimulus for development," he said.

While the speakers hailed the demise of Block E, not all city officials were jubilant. Council Member Brian Coyle said he supported the plan to raze Block E because it's an important block for development purposes, but he doesn't share the council's "obsession with scrubbing the city clean."

"Every city needs a little bit of everything," Coyle said. "When you come down here on a Saturday night, which I do, you see that the people we want to wash away are still on the street. They're just more dispersed."

No one here can stop or aggravate us
No more hard-luck stories will deflate us
Say goodbye to urban blight,
Now we'll light up the night
Block E, Bye Bye

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