Hard Rock Café Plans A Twin Cities Encore
In 2011, when the Hard Rock CafÃ© shuttered its doors at the Block E complex in downtown Minneapolis, the company cited the troubled property as its reason for closing, rather than financial performance.
Now, a few years later, it appears the Hard Rock CafÃ©—perhaps known more for its rock ’n roll memorabilia than its cuisine—is returning to Minnesota with a new location at the Mall of America.
The company's corporate careers website indicates that Hard Rock is currently looking to hire a general manager, restaurant operations manager, and kitchen manager for its planned MOA location. The job descriptions state that the new restaurant will open this summer but do not specify an exact opening date.
A Mall of America spokesperson declined to comment on the planned restaurant, and the Hard Rock CafÃ© did not immediately respond to Tuesday morning inquiries.
Orlando, Florida-based Hard Rock International is a privately owned company that operates venues in more than 50 countries—including 140 of its Hard Rock CafÃ© locations, 19 hotels, and eight casinos. The company continues to expand domestically and overseas; developments were recently completed or are underway in China and Hungary, among other markets.
Its restaurants are decorated with memorabilia from rock stars such as Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, and Bob Dylan. The Hard Rock CafÃ© also sells rock 'n roll-related apparel and accessories.
The Exit from Block E
The Hard Rock CafÃ© reportedly opened its Block E location in 2002, making it one of the property's earliest tenants. There was a large-scale exodus of Block E tenants in recent years, including Applebee’s, Borders, Bellanotte, Snyders Drug, GameWorks, Hooters, and AMC Theatre, which closed in the wake of a legal dispute over its lease.
Block E owner Alatus in 2011 unveiled ambitious plans to add a casino to the site, but supporters were unsuccessful in their attempt to pass a bill that would have made the non-Indian casino legal.
Now, the property's owner intends to “completely renovate” the largely empty complex, having struck a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx to “create a world-class training facility” to anchor a transformed Block E.
Officials from the Timberwolves and Lynx, Rochester-based Mayo Clinic, and Provident Real Estate Ventures (the asset manager for Block E's owner) were scheduled to unveil additional plans for the facility Tuesday afternoon.