Block E gutted for Mayo Clinic Square renovation (Photos) (Video)

Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal –

You wouldn’t recognize Block E these days.

The skyway level, which people see the most, isn’t going through a dramatic change, but the space above is getting a completely new look.

Not only is plastic wrap covering most of the downtown Minneapolis retail center’s facade while it’s being redone, but the inside of what used to be a 15-screen AMC movie theater is now a wide-open expanse.

The complete gutting of the third floor and its mezzanine level started in February, clearing the way for Mortenson Construction to begin building a Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center and a practice facility and administrative offices for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx.

Staff from the Lynx and Timberwolves this week gave a tour about halfway through the $50 million redevelopment project by Block E’s owners, Provident Real Estate Ventures of Plymouth.

View photos of the construction and renderings of the project here.

Gone are 14 of 15 theaters. The escalators have been torn out and will be replaced by a grand staircase that leads up from an interactive fan area on the second floor to the lobby that will be shared by Mayo Clinic and the basketball teams.

Crews removed 1,200 tons of concrete during the demolition process.

Visitors will be able to see into the two basketball courts through a glass wall. If they turn right, they’ll be in Mayo Clinic. If they go left, they’ll be in offices that will house 120 team employees.

Across the courts are separate locker rooms for the Wolves and Lynx and a weight room. One of the smaller theaters was saved for corporate events and other team activities.

“This is going to be one of the top, high-end basketball training facilities in the country,” Timberwolves/Lynx Chief Marketing Officer Ted Johnson said.

The project will expand the 12,000 square feet of mezzanine, used largely for movie projectors, to 24,000 square feet for basketball team higher-ups.

The teams needed new offices, Johnson said. This will bring all administrative staff into the same area.

“As we’ve grown, there haven’t been any space for us to office our employees, so we’ve had to find nooks and crannies in Target Center,” Johnson said.

By: Nick Halter
Date: August 1, 2014 – 10:42am CDT
View original article here.