Pub owner suing companies behind Block E revamp after sales drop

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An Irish pub is suing the developers of the infamous Block E building in downtown Minneapolis because bar sales have plummeted since work started on the $50 million renovation.

Kieran's Irish Pub has been obscured by scaffolding and plastic sheeting during the refurbishment project, the Star Tribune reports, and owner Peter Killen claims sales were down 27 percent last month compared to a year ago, which he says may lead to staff being laid off.

The pub is one of few survivors from the ill-fated Block E retail complex, which will be renamed Mayo Clinic Square as it undergoes its transformation into a sports medicine facility for the Rochester-based Mayo Clinic, according to the Pioneer Press.

Landlord Camelot LLC, of Plymouth, Alatus LLC of Minneapolis - which controls Camelot, and Provident Real Estate Ventures of Plymouth are listed as defendants in the lawsuit, the Star Tribune notes.

The pub, which moved to the building on the 600 block of Hennepin Avenue since 2010, says the renovation has made it hard for customers to find the pub and has also seen sawdust from the work blown into guests' food, the Minneapolis-St Paul Business Journal says.

Killen, who is seeking $50,000 in damages, interest on the $150,000 in utility billing the pub claims it's been overcharged, and an injunction to relieve his restaurant from the impact of the work, told the Star Tribune: "They've moved our front door so now our customers have to walk through a construction zone to find us. Talk about a fiscal cliff, we're living it."

Block E's troubled history

The 22,000 square-foot Sports Medicine Center, which will be run by Rochester's famous Mayo Clinic, opened for business at the end of last month, even though work on the outside of the building still continues, WCCO reports.

It is hoped the renovation, which also makes provision for 120,000 square feet of restaurant and office space on the ground floor and skyway levels, will mark the end of a storied and troubled past for the building following the failure of the retail complex in 2002 and a wider history of urban blight in the area.

The redone complex will also include include practice space for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx. The Mayo Clinic will be named as the basketball teams' preferred healthcare provider, per an agreement with the teams, according to KSTP.

The practice facilities are not expected to be completed until next year, however, and until then the teams will continue to practice in the LifeTime Fitness facilities beneath the Target Center, across the street from Block E.

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