Updated: 02/04/2014 5:32 PM
Created: 02/04/2014 7:12 AM KSTP.com
By: Megan Stewart
Big plans are in the works for what’s become a dead zone in the city of Minneapolis.
On Tuesday, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx along with the Mayo Clinic have announced a new partnership with Block E Owner Provident Real Estate Ventures. The owner of the building has been trying to get new investments and new tenants for years.
"We care deeply about the long-term vitality of downtown Minneapolis and have worked extremely hard to find a redevelopment plan that will position this property as a high-energy destination," said Phillip Jaffe of Provident Real Estate Ventures.
According to Mayo, it will extend the Mayo Model of Care for patients in sports medicine to the Twin Cities. The collaboration includes opening a Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center at 600 Hennepin, designating Mayo as the preferred medical provider for the teams, and utilizing the teams’ international reach to educate the public about numerous health and wellness topics, the non-profit said.
The building will also be renamed the Mayo Clinic Square starting Tuesday.
In November, the building owners said they were ready to renovate the building into a training facility for the Timberwolves and Lynx in an effort to attract a stable source of rent. Crime in the downtown area has deterred tenants from renting the building in the past, but now the owners say police calls are down 99 percent compared to call totals in 2009.
Tuesday's announcement outlines a four-part renovation plan that includes security and exterior improvements, additional retail space, and a more modern design. Economists say success will hinge upon whether people outside the metropolitan area will drive downtown to watch practices at the facility.
The Timberwolves said Mayo Clinic Square will feature two courts, offices, training and workout areas.
RSP Architects has been retained to design the building's exterior and interior core renovation, which is expected to be completed by 2015.
"We want to transform Block E into a modern and positive contributor to downtown's built environment," said David Serrano, Senior Associate, RSP Architects. "Our goal with the design is to clearly state Block E has changed. We want it to have an energy and elegance that will allow it to look great day and night."