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26 posts from November 2011

November 29, 2011

Downtown Roch. building sells for $5.3M

A prominent downtown Rochester building was sold for $5.3 million last week.

OldoddfellowsThe 130-year-old former Odd Fellows building at 23 Second St. S.W. was purchased by Baheya LLC of Rochester, according to the Olmsted County Property Records.

Oxford Property Management, a Rochester firm, is listed on county records as the manager of the building.

It was sold by 23 Second Street SW LLC, a Rochester property investment company.

The storefront space at the corner of Second Street and First Avenue Southwest is empty.

Think Mutual Bank moved out in July. Think shifted its downtown branch two blocks south to the Minnesota Biobusiness Center at 221 First Ave. S.W.

There's no word yet if Baheya has any tenant slated to move into the space or if the ownership switch will mean any changes for the other tenants like Eagle Drug, Newt's Express and HDR Architecture.

Think Bank owned the building until selling it to 23 Second Street SW LLC for  $2.8 million in 2007. Think bought it from the Rochester Odd Fellows Lodge for $700,000 in 1998.

Mayo's Breath Hold device + Philips CT systems

Here's a kind of interesting tidbit about a Mayo Clinic developed medical device.

MedspiraLogoBreath Hold, a breath monitoring deal that is using during medical imaging exams, was originally developed by Mayo Clinic researchers.

In 2009, Medspira was formed in Minneapolis and it markets a commercial version of the Breath Hold device.

On Monday, a press release was floated out about Breath Hold being adding as an additional option for customers buying Philips Healthcare CT systems.

It sounds sort of like getting the sunroof and the whitewall tires on the new car you are ordering.

Not sure what this could mean, if anything, for Mayo. My guess is that this will up sales and that will in some way benefit Mayo Clinic.

Here's some from the release:

Medspira, the innovative medical device company, announces a collaboration with Philips Healthcare to offer Medspira's Breath Hold™ interactive breath control monitoring system as an option for Philips' BrightView XCT SPECT/CT systems. Developed by Mayo Clinic physicians, Breath Hold™ is a user-friendly system that enables patients to easily and consistently reproduce a breath-hold reference point to help maintain a consistent breathing pattern during imaging exams and other medical procedures.

Procedure image2According to Jody Garrard, Senior Product Marketing Manager of Philips Healthcare, "A significant number of SPECT/CT studies involve the chest and abdominal organs and are often affected by respiratory motion. Providing respiratory feedback during a CT exam has the potential to reduce motion artifacts in the CT image without compromising the SPECT/CT workflow."

"We believe Medspira Breath Hold will help enhance SPECT/CT exams," said Ryan Gruening, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Medspira. "The device provides a simple, unobtrusive way for patients to use biofeedback to control their own breathing, and for the operator to know if the patient is complying with their breath hold instructions, at a relatively affordable cost for the medical facilities."

November 28, 2011

Mayo Clinic's proton beam center digging in deep

That's a big hole and it is going deeper. Construction of Mayo Clinic's $185 million Richard O. Jacobson Building to house a new proton beam therapy center is really digging in as the downtown Rochester project rolls on.


This project at the southwest corner of Second Street Northwest and First Avenue Northwest means a boost of about 500 jobs for local construction workers for the next three to four years.

Knutson Construction along with a national firm called Gilbane is building the complex.

2011-11-28_11-55-12_745 The first phase is for 220,000-square-feet with two floors above ground and two levels below for the massive nuclear equipment required for the "pencil beam" proton treatment. Hence the deep hole.

Mayo Clinic also has conceptual plans on the table for the possible second phase to build a 17-story tower on top of the Jacobson Proton_Night-Full_Donor_Steel complex.

With 19 stories above ground, the building would fall just two floors short of the Gonda Building's 21.

November 25, 2011

Tech staffing firm working on new Roch. office

A national firm that provides contract employees for IBM in Rochester is working on new office space in northwest Rochester.

Computer Task Group, commonly called CTG, is building a new suite of offices on the fourth floor of the Olmsted National Bank building at 975 34th Ave. N.W. That's the colorful building with the eagle logo at U.S. 14 West and Superior Drive Northwest.

LogoCTG, which employs hundreds of computer and technology workers, opened its Rochester office  primarily to service a major IBM contract in 2005. Its current address is suite 200 at 4041 28th St. N.W. 

Richard Dye, a company representative in CTG’s headquarters in Buffalo, N.Y., confirmed a move is happening, but did not have any details about the number of employees or the reason for the move.

While its staff numbers vary depending on project contracts, CTG had more than 300 Rochester employees in 2008. When it first opened here, Rochester was described as one CTG's largest customers.

Two construction permits estimate the project value at $85,000.

It is not clear how much space CTG will take up in the bank building, but it should fill or almost fill the remaining commercial tenant space in the building.

It will share the fourth floor with law office of Klampe, Delehanty & Morris, which moved there at the start of the year from downtown Rochester.

Olmsted National Bank fills up the two bottom levels of the complex it built in 2006.

November 23, 2011

Two Links connect fitness and nutrition

Two Rochester brothers are putting their fitness and nutrition experience to work with their new shop and exercise studio.

Ray and Ryan Link opened Link Nutrition on Saturday at 1841 Third Ave. S.E. That's just south of the Gluten Free Cupboard.

They are offering lines of sports nutrition supplements, vitamins, minerals, weight reduction products and a few energy drinks.

"One of us or someone we trust has tried every product here," Ray Link says.

He started using nutrition supplements about 15 years ago when he became serious about working out. Ray turned his brother on to fitness, and Ryan later began competing in bodybuilding contests.

Now, years later, they are taking what they have learned to market.

Food_supplements_food_supplements_a_a386ed2a17f7dc2a8fc15537b1087532_490x350"I've always wanted to do this," says Ryan Link, who is diabetic as well as a bodybuilder. "It's always been kind of a big thing to me to encourage and help people to eat well."

Recently, the brothers decided the time was right to take things to the next level.

"We discussed it, and we thought we should go for it now," says Ray Link.

While they are starting out with the supplements and vitamins on the shelves, the Link brothers hope to start offering one-on-one personal training services early in 2012.

They are creating a private workout studio in the back section of the store building.

"We'll design individual workout programs and nutrition for people," says Ray Link.

People will have the option of working with the Links either in their private studio or elsewhere. They will also create programs for people to use on their own, though Ray Link says they won't be able to guarantee results as they will for people working with them.

Famous Footwear to close 145 stores

What's the story, Buster Brown?

Brown Shoe Co., which is the corporate parent of the Famous Footwear store, announced earlier this week that they plan to close 70 FF stores in fiscal 2011 and another 75 in 2012.

As is typical in such corporate pronouncements, no details as to what stores will close other than a distribution center in Wisconsin.

So it is u nclear if either of or both of the two Famous Footwear stores in Rochester might be on the list. Those stores located in the Broadway Commons by Kohl's and in the Rochester Marketplace by Target North.
The shoe retailer has had two stores in Rochester since 2001.

They also have a store in Red Wing.

I'm checking on this.

November 22, 2011

Hormel's earnings and profit drop in 4Q

Wrapping up a year where it raised prices on many of its products, Hormel Foods Corp. showed a drop in earnings and profit for its fourth quarter, though its sales inched up and it exceeded market estimates.

Spam-spam-spamIn its earnings released this morning, the Austin-based Hormel reported an earnings decline of 3 percent to $117.3 million compared to $121 million in the same quarter in 2010.

"Our tonnage was down in comparison with the 14-week quarter last year, but we held our own on volumes in the face of significant pricing actions," said Chairman and Chief Executive Jeff Ettinger. "We are looking for our grocery products, specialty foods and all other (international) units to drive profit growth in fiscal 2012, as our refrigerated foods and Jennie-O Turkey Store segments maintain their position against historically high results."

Despite the poor economy boosting the popularity of its inexpensive Spam and Dinty Moore lines, Hormel was hit with higher costs for pork and other commodities. It passed those costs on supermarket shoppers.

Refrigerated Foods, Hormel's division that represents 36 percent of itsJeff-ettinger operating profit, was down 19 percent in profit compared to last year's fourth quarter. Division includes Hormel's lines of bacon, ham and deli meats. Its volume of sales went down by 8 percent, though its sales in dollars was up by 1 percent.

Its Grocery Products segment, which sells the Spam family of products, marked a 19 percent increase in net profit. However, its volume of sales was down 6 percent and its sales in dollars dropped by 2 percent. This division accounts for 23 percent of the company's operating profit.

Grocery Products' profit was given a boost by Hormel's acquisition of a Fort Worth, Texas-based guacamole maker, Fresherized Foods. That purchase in August was done through MegaMex Foods, a joint venture of Hormel and Herdez Del Fuerte.

The Jennie-O Turkey Store was the standout among the divisions for the quarter with a solid showing with profit climbing by 4 percent and sales going up by 2 percent. Jennie-O accounts for 25 percent of Hormel's operating profit.

For the overall year, the picture looked better than for the quarter. Hormel tallied a 16 percent increase in net earnings to $474.2 million compared to $409 million for 2010.

November 21, 2011

Downtown Roch. building is now pretty in pink

A small, downtown Rochester building with a long, colorful history is now pretty in pink.

11212011callthegirlpinkbuildingStanding at 20 Sixth Street S.W., near the VFW Post 1215 Club, the minuscule cube of a building has been a pizza place, a jewelry store, a dog-grooming business and even an ice cream shop with a big frosty cone on top.

And now, for its latest incarnation, it is swathed in a coat of cotton candy pink.

Lisa Hendrickson recently moved the Rochester office of her Call That Girl computer repair and support business into the spot across First Avenue from the ruins of the ex-KTTC building.

The pink, along with the black trim, matches the colors of the Call That Girl logo.

Her information technology operation offers software fixes and maintenance via remote access — such as virus removal — as well as nuts and bolts on-site hardware repair.

And she now goes beyond desktops and laptops to offer specialty tech repairs for things like iPods, gaming systems and plasma TVs. Call That Girl can also work on household appliances like microwave ovens, washers, dryers, trash compactors and vacuum cleaners.

Hendrickson, who founded Call That Girl in Rochester, has other locations in the Twin Cities and Winona.

She re-opened the Rochester location last fall after she had moved it completely to the Twin Cities for three years.

It was last on North Broadway before its recent move to its pink home downtown.

Is Thanksgiving shopping too much?

I'm writing a Black Friday shopping precede article.

Thanksgiving-turkeyThe hot topic seems to be the fact some stores are opening on Thanksgiving for shopping with Old Navy being open all day and Walmart opening at 10 p.m.

The bulk of other stores like Target, Best Buy and the most of the Apache Mall shops are opening at midnight, which is really only one minute away from Thanksgiving.

These moves have incensed many people and have inspired a wave declarations of the sacredness of Thanksgiving and outrage at this violation of the holiday.

• I'm looking for resactions from Rochester shoppers to this.

• Is this an abomination?

• Is it not a big deal?

• Are you going out to shop on Thanksgiving? Black Friday? Never?

• If you are going out early, what deals are drawing you out?




Demolition crews level old downtown building

11212011kttcdemo1Fraser Construction's demolition crews are getting down to the nitty gritty this morning in the leveling of the ex-KTTC-TV building at 601 First Ave. S.W. in Rochester.

That plot is in the city's "urban village" district, part of the Downtown Master Plan, and is considered to be part of a University of Minnesota Rochester campus eventually. It is owned by the city. 11212011kttcdemo2

The City of Rochester awarded a $69,940 contract to demolish it.

Not included in the contract is the demolition of the antenna tower, which would have cost another $11,290. The city might rent space on the tower to cellular phone companies.