The long-troubled Block E development in downtown Minneapolis officially has a new owner, but the man who hopes to turn its fortunes around says it's too soon to reveal any details about where he hopes to take it.
Twin Cities developer Bob Lux and his commercial real estate development firm, Alatus LLC, inked the deal to purchase the entertainment complex late Friday from Union Labor Life Insurance Co., based in Washington, D.C.
Lux declined to disclose terms of the sale.
"Times have changed for Block E," Lux said Saturday. "The area's ripe right now, and we're really excited about doing it right this time."
The first order of business will be to add better lighting and signs in the 550-space parking ramp. Lux also intends to renovate the lobby of the 213,000-square-foot complex to make it more "customer friendly."
Beyond that, Lux was mum about what's in store for the block, which includes two shuttered anchors -- GameWorks and Borders Books -- and a Hooters restaurant that is operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Minneapolis taxpayers kicked in $38.5 million in 2002 when original owner McCaffery Interest of Chicago opened the $134 million developer with a Hard Rock Cafe. The area's lack of energy and drawing power have remained a sore spot for residents and city officials alike.
Alatus will not seek public subsidies, and Lux said he hopes to draw more enterprises like Kieran's Irish Pub, which opened on First Avenue in March. Lux said he'll be ready to talk about more specifics in three or four months.