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October 20, 2009

New Shoppes on Second development plan

At the core of Matt Russell's article on the Rochester City Council's 4-3 vote to not impose a proposed development moratorium on Second Street Southwest is the latest version of the proposed Shoppes on Second plan spearheaded by local developer Rick Penz.

Plans for a commercial development at the intersection of Second Street Southwest and 16th Avenue Southwest in front of the Miracle Mile Shopping Center first surfaced publicly in 2007.
That incarnation featured upscale stores and a fondue restaurant. Since then, other versions have floated out as the project has run into obstacles involving the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Miracle Mile.

The latest plan, discussed last night at the meeting, has three buildings - a retail center, a fast food restaurant and a hotel (presumably a Holiday Inn).102009shoppesonsecond jk 

Here's a little from Matt Russell's council story to explain how the development and the proposed moratorium had a head-on collision with only the Shoppes on Second walking away.

The moratorium, brought forward by Council Member Michael Wojcik, was intended to enforce standards proposed by a recent study of Second Street Southwest led by First Homes, an initiative of the Rochester Area Foundation.

The standards, which have yet to be approved by the city council, would reduce maximum parking standards, prohibit drive-through windows, require buildings to be taller than one story, and reduce maximum building setbacks.

A resolution against the moratorium passed 4-3, with council members Ed Hruska, Dennis Hanson, Bruce Snyder, and Bob Nowicki voting in favor. Wojcik, Sandra Means, and Mark Bilderback voted against the resolution.

Earlier this month, when Wojcik proposed the moratorium, he said he wasn't aware of any impending development proposals along Second Street between downtown and U.S. 52.

On Monday, however, he said a proposal had surfaced that went against the design guidelines outlined in the First Homes study.

"The plan is a disgrace to urban planning," Wojcik said, noting that surrounding neighborhoods strongly endorsed the moratorium. "I think we owe the neighborhoods better." Wojcik said Rochester-Olmsted Planning Director Phil Wheeler e-mailed the plans to council members on Monday.

Wheeler said the plans include a fast-food restaurant and a hotel on the northeast corner of U.S. 52 and Second Street Southwest, a site where an upscale mall, Shoppes on Second, had once been proposed.


I drive that stretch of Second Street everyday. The flow of traffic is bad enough with McDonalds, KFC and Super America, please don't even consider another fast food place on that corner.

Shouldn't that be "Shoppes on Seconde"?

Neighbor - A lot of issues with that spot right there could be alleviated if they closed off 2nd St SW frontage for Super America and KFC. Both of those businesses could be easily accessed through the Avenue entrances that already exist. That alone would cut down on congestion. But being the primary entrance into downtown, 2nd St & Hwy 52 will always be congested. I don't mind the layout of this plan, as people would be entering from 1st St SW & 16th Ave SW, but I would definitely like to see something more upscale on that corner. That being said, for visitors from out of town, there are very few quick restaurant options in the immediate vicinity, and I wouldn't mind having another option right there.

Good planning and common sense would say no to another fast food/drive through on either of the four corners at 52 and 2nd st.
It would be a good place for a hotel, or even for an Embers, if they didn't put the entrance/exit on 2nd st.

they need to put a Subway restaurant in that area.

I don't think the site is large enough for the proposal. Not enough parking places. let just get a nice restaurant in the like. "TEXAS ROAD HOUSE". BTW any new idea brought before the council, will be a "disgrace" anyway it's presented by Wojcik. He would love to see the Skyway's ,in downtown, remove.dah we have guests from out of town in January and February that use those skyways between Mayo and their hotels. think about it....At the present time, between 7 - 8 am and 3:30 - 5:30 PM 2nd Street SW and Highway 52 is congested. keep entrances off 2ND street allow only entrance from an avenue.

They never learn from the past. Gee if hardees or wendys could not survive in that general area why would u try again. years ago it was a nightmare to work at that area. they already have 6 food places in this area a seventh one is on the way and instead of moving forward and reworking the streets and intersections they want to make more of a mess. anyone ever consider working on different side of 2nd st. in the last ten yrs they have removed 2 hotels and 2 fast food places just to make room for the new 52 now they want to put the the clutter back there. its like reliving past mistakes if you ask me.

This sight has been dormant since ROC 52. State Farm rented the area for a time during the hail storm a few years ago. If someone has the backing/capital to develop that area, and use access from 1st Street, more support for them.

Yes, I completely agree that if someone wants to develop it, they should be able to, and the businesses lined up might be needed and useful in that site. But that said, what is wrong with asking for a good, or even appropriate, design? From the looks of it, the developer is trying to get as much into the space as possible therefore sacrificing walkability and greenspace for the required parking. It's basically a mini version of all the retail areas in "suburban" Rochester. Not exactly what belongs in a downtown core.

This is a very visible and important site. It's the first thing visitors to St Marys will see when exiting off of 52. This should be a showcase site, not a parking lot and a strip mall.

Finally, the developer worked extensively with the neighborhood when developing the first plan that was put on hold (due to the economy, I would guess) and now he refuses to meet with the neighborhood to discuss the new design. I wonder why...maybe because he knows this development is not on par with the original one.

Adding to the big traffic mess on 2nd Street is the fact that MNDoT took away northbound access to Hwy 52 from 1st Street...! Now all the traffic from Miracle Mile has to get to 2nd Street to get onto the Highway }:(

There is an old saying that, "Too many cooks spoil the broth." If the elected representitives, who are suppose to represent their constituents, feel that the developer has a good plan then I guess I'll agree with them. As a past member of a city council I know that too much imput can be just as detremental as too little. Oh, and driving by this area today, the current parking lot is definately not a pretty picture for people coming into the area.

@jennebach, if they're headed north, then they're better off taking the frontage or 16th north to civic center and getting onto hwy52 there anyway. Or at least they would be if the northbound frontage didn't have such weird connectivity to the rest of that area. You have to know just when to jog east over to 16th. Some better signage would fix that though.

Although I am unnecessarily extending this discussion, I had to comment again.

Nowhere in the above article does it say that the representatives think it's a good plan. It says that the council voted 4-3 to not impose a development moratorium in the 2nd St corridor, thus allowing this type of development to go forward. That does not mean they like it. It just means that it is allowed under the current regulations, and the council is not willing to change that at this point. Their reasoning is unclear to me because, as the article does not point out, half of the cost of the 2nd St study was paid for by the city. So, it seems a bit odd for the city council to not listen to the recommendations of their own study.

I would also like to point out that my elected representative, who is quoted in this article, does feel this is a bad plan. I think Michael is doing his job as he was elected to do. As his constituent, I am simply agreeing with him.

And yes, the current state of the area is less than ideal, but that does not mean we should just throw up any old building(s). There have to be standards. Rochester needs to be forward thinking.

Thanks to all of you out there who have opposed this development. Go and tell others. We owe it to the City to provide citizen feedback. Also, see how we can look at Rochester development in a new light:


Who ARE you? I know you use Qwest for your ISP and have put yourself on Digg, but who are you?

I (or rather we) are just Rochester residents who are concerned with good design. I see you are quite the sleuth, I'm sure you can find out more about me (us).

Article in today's Strib about a couple new hotels in the Cities. This was in the article:
"Torgerson operates 28 hotels in Minnesota and Florida under the Marriott, Hilton, Intercontinental, Cendant and Carlson brands.

The company is in the early stages of developing a Homewood Suites in Rochester near St. Marys Hospital and adjacent to a Courtyard by Marriott that Torgerson also developed."

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