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Block E casino a possibility

What happens in Minneapolis, stays in Minneapolis.
What happens in Minneapolis, stays in Minneapolis.

A series of developers have gambled on the Block E development, and lost. But Bob Lux, whose Alatus LLC bought the seemingly jinxed property last year, likes his chances with an idea that hasn't been tried: A luxury casino.

It's a long-shot deal that would require action from the Legislature because of a compact with Indian tribes that restricts gambling to tribal land.

But Lux sounds serious. He's met with Gov. Mark Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak to pitch the plan. But it's all talk right now.

"Suggestions for the site have included restaurant, retail and entertainment options, as well as a limited-footprint, sophisticated, best-in-class gaming component similar in style and experience to the Bellagio or Wynn" in Las Vegas, Alatus said, adding that it "will be continuing to listen, discuss and explore all ideas."

Casinos always sound so glamorous, so Rat Pack. But it's hard to escape the idea that we may one day play host to bus loads of senior citizens slumped over slot machines.

Block E opened in 2002, after a $134 million investment by McCaffery Interest of Chicago and Hard Rock Cafe, and $38.5 million from taxpayers, but it's shed tenants and owners since then. Alatus bought the complex in July for about $14 million.

Related: Block E sold to Alatus


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