While the Twins' new ballpark is finally nearing its completion, the race to grab up nightlife real estate around Target Field is just heating up.
The first big move was announced Monday by Irish pub impresario, Kieran Folliard. The Irishman, who owns a mini-empire of pubs, said he will move his original bar, Kieran's Irish Pub, into the vacant Bellanotte space in downtown Minneapolis' Block E.
Right now, Kieran's sits about six blocks away, at the corner of S. 4th Street and 2nd Avenue.
Bellanotte closed in July after a five-year run as one of downtown's hottest nightlife destinations.
"I wanted that space ever since it went dark," Folliard said.
Bellanotte is 10,000 square feet of sleek, modern decor. Folliard said he will gut the space, giving it an Irish makeover that will include Kieran's iconic artwork. He will open the bar on March 16, the day before St. Patrick's Day. The Twins' home opener is April 12.
This is good news for the withering Block E complex. Bellanotte's closing added to vacancies left by Borders bookstore and Escape Ultra Lounge. Earlier this year, GameWorks said it was looking to sublease.
In Folliard, Block E has possibly found a sure-fire success story. Folliard opened Kieran's in 1994, followed by the Local, also in downtown Minneapolis, and the Liffey in St. Paul. In October, he opened Cooper in St. Louis Park, where it is an anchor tenant for the $400 million Shops at West End.
Folliard said he's in it for the long haul at Block E -- he's signed a 10-year-lease with options for two five-year extensions. "There is an opportunity to reenergize Block E," he said. "I wanted to be a part of that. I'm committed to the turnaround."