Closing-time fears have dogged First Avenue for nearly two decades, and for fairly obvious reasons. For one, the old black ark's lease has a six-month demolition clause, which means the Ave. is always potentially two seasons away from The End. And according to management, the club has been losing money since 1997--not an auspicious sign. While spokespeople at the Hard Rock Cafe say they aren't planning construction in Minneapolis anytime soon, downtown property managers claim that the chain has indeed looked at another downtown site in the past year. As it now stands, representatives for Ted Mann (who owns the First Avenue property) deny that the lot has been sold. Still, even if the rumor is baseless, it's a damn good one, with all the appropriate portent for anyone who resents the cultural destruction of Minneapolis's downtown.


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