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Downtown's made-over Block E to be renamed Mayo Clinic Square

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The planned revamp for Block E in downtown Minneapolis will include a 20,000-square-foot sports medicine facility along with new practice space for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx.

FOX 9 reports beginning this fall, the Mayo Clinic will become the medical provider for the basketball teams, according the partnership announcement Tuesday.

The end result of Block E's $50-million facelift will be renamed Mayo Clinic Square, which is expected to be complete in the fall of 2015.

The Star Tribune reports the partnership is part of Mayo's initiative to become a major player in the highly-competitive field of sports medicine by doubling its existing practice. Mayo recently announced the opening of a 22,000-square-foot sports medicine facility in Rochester.

In addition the the medical clinic that will occupy the former movie theater space on the third floor, the 24/7 "state-of-the-art" practice facility that will also serve the Wolves youth basketball academy when the teams are on the road, FOX 9 reports.

The Wolves and the Lynx currently practice in LifeTime Fitness facilities in the Target Center below ground level, WCCO reports.

“When you visit other practice facilities around the NBA, it becomes clear the current situation for our players lags behind other teams,” Flip Saunders, president of basketball operations for the Wolves, said Tuesday. “The new practice facility and Mayo Clinic partnership will be great assets in attracting the top talent in the NBA.”

WCCO says the new plan also calls for 120,000 square feet of renovated space available to new tenants on the ground floor and skyway levels.

Block E has become the site of a failed retail complex since it opened in 2002, sitting practically empty for the last couple years. The few tenants that still remain – Shout House, Kieran's Irish Pub, Jimmy John's and Starbucks – will stay, FOX 9 says.

In 2016, the Timberwolves and Lynx will also have an updated Target Center to play in. The Minneapolis City Council approved a nearly $100 million renovation for the arena in November. Construction for that project kicks off this summer.

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