News out of Minneapolis today (that has a personal hip hop connection that I’ll get to…) as downtown’s “Block E” will officially be renamed Mayo Clinic Square. A trio of Minnesota staples are converging for this one as the Mayo Clinic will open a sports medicine facility as part of a partnership with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx to house their headquarters and practice facilities as well, reports Star Tribune.
As you can see from the gallery above, we have some beautiful renderings of the exterior space from Hennepin & 7th and a few interior shots of Kevin Love & Co. at practice. RSP Architects is behind the design that boasts a video screen that covers the top corner of the building (my favorite feature). The facility will be on the third floor, with Block E’s first floor restaurants (Kieran’s Irish Pub, Shouthouse Dueling Pianos, Jimmy John’s and Starbucks) remaining. The second floor will house office and retail, along with the return of Mrs. Fields (Yes! They’re keeping my favorite cookie store) and still connect to other Minneapolis buildings (including the Target Center) as the skyway level.
So, my personal hip hop connection? Well, Block E has housed many major tenants that have since left the location’s suprising lack of success. I was a student at University of Minnesota and visited Block E for food or entertainment at places like GameWorks, Applebee’s, Hooters, and the Hard Rock Cafe (literally been to one of those at some point or another there). One more not on that list: Borders Books.
Borders was the primary facade of Block E in 2006 when I was a college freshman walking all the way around downtown looking for a copy of Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor. I tried more traditional music stores on September 19th: a Best Buy, Circuit City, an actual record store, and all to no avail. Borders was my last hope to get a copy of the CD on the first day it was released and to my surprise, there were two copies left. And thus was the memorable experience of buying my favorite rapper’s first CD. If I happen to be in Minneapolis in 2015, I look forward to visiting Block E to see these new facilities come to fruition, but I’ll never forget why I was there in the first place.