Block E partners plan to sell nearby parking lots

The two surface parking lots near the Orpheum Theatre could fetch a total of $20 million or more.

The owners of what they say is one of the largest developable tracts of land downtown plan to sell the two blocks of surface parking southwest of the Orpheum Theatre.

“We think it’s a good time,” said Phillip Jaffe of Provident Real Estate Ventures, who has held the land for about seven years with partners Irvin Kessler and Bob Lux.

Minneapolis appears headed toward a record third consecutive year of $1 billion-plus in building permits. And downtown and the Warehouse District boast construction of apartment housing, commercial renovation and some new office space.

The two blocks are believed to be valued at about $20 million, but a developer likely would pay more in a brisk market. The parcels border Hennepin and Hawthorne Avenues between 10th and 11th Streets.

Jaffe said the time is right, considering the construction of the publicly financed Minnesota Vikings stadium, the planned Wells Fargo campus, the continued rebound of Hennepin Avenue with its theaters and restaurants, and the planned public/private rebuild of the Nicollet Mall.

The two blocks would be fairly easy to develop because they are largely surface parking lots, Jaffe said. Lux is a developer who struggled during the recession. Jaffe said Lux might be involved in a development project, but that he and Kessler want to sell.

The partners, who bought the land in 2007, just before the Great Recession crippled development, were considering developing a hotel, office building or grocery store on the site.

Lunds eventually opened a store nearby at Hennepin Avenue and S. 12th Street.

Observers speculate that multifamily housing with some office and retail space could work in the neighborhood. A hotel, which downtown boosters say is needed for convention business, also might work.

The partners, through their Camelot limited liability corporation, bought Block E in 2010 for $14 million and unsuccessfully pushed for government approval of a $400 million casino. They announced in February a $50 million renovation that will involve a practice facility for the Minnesota Timberwolves and a Mayo Clinic site.

 

Neal St. Anthony • 612-673-7144

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