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8 posts from September 2013

September 25, 2013

Spooky store gears up for the scary season

Travis Mueller wanted to know about this store, so I jumped up and checked it out for him. If it matters to Travis, it matters to me. Heh. Anyway, here's what I found out:

09252013spirithalloweenSpirit Halloween is opening its doors this evening in the former Best Buy South store in the Shoppes on Maine area.

The store was just putting the final touches on its front decoration at about 4:30 p.m. today. I was told that they'd be open by 5 p.m.

This seasonal retailer will sell masks, costumes, fake blood and everything other ghoulish thing needed to celebrate All Hallow's Eve through Oct. 31 (AKA Halloween).

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Med City, Halloween Express, is has moved into the former Amish Furniture store on Bandel Road.

Bank building sells in downtown Rochester

Here's some from an article I have in today's edition about yet another major downtown Rochester real estate deal.

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The rush for developers to stake out a claim in downtown Rochester continues this month, as the seven-story Associated Bank building was sold on Sept. 16 after months of speculation.

As of Oct. 1, all tenants of the building at 206 S. Broadway are to make out rent payments to Bloom International Realty, according to a letter from Oxford Property Management. Oxford, which is based in Rochester, will manage the building for the new owners.

52430f56ccab8.imageA series of major development projects have been launched since Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center initiative to invest in Rochester's infrastructure, Mayo Clinic and the surrounding business community was launched earlier this year.

"We're not surprised. DMC represents an exciting new chapter for Rochester, which the marketplace is reacting to," said Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce President John Wade.

The tenants, which include the bank, the Dunlap & Seeger law firm, the O'Brien & Wolf law firm, Minnesota Public Radio and others, were told they need to vacate the building in 2015. Many tenants said off the record that they've heard the new owners will demolish the building to make make way for a new development, possibly a high-end hotel.

Mark Dixon, of Oxford Property Management, exchanged phone messages with the Post-Bulletin on Tuesday but could not connect for an interview. Dixon was meeting with a visiting international group, presumably the new owners of the Associated building.

Bloom is a foreign company that incorporated in Minnesota last week, according to state records. Some Rochester business leaders have said off the record that the new owners are Bloom Properties LLC, which is based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. If the Abu Dhabi firm is the new owner, it would raise the recent real estate activity to a new level. Bloom signed a deal with another firm this week to build a $4.5 billion residential project in Baghdad to house 150,000 people.

"The new owners have not only made an investment in downtown but want to be partners with our community going forward," said Wade, who has met with the new owners.

While he did not identify them, Wade said this is the first local investment by this group. However, they have had "a long relationship" with the city and are very familiar with Rochester.

September 12, 2013

Another downtown Roch. building sells

Another downtown Rochester building has sold to a local developer as the Destination Medical Center-driven rush to buy property continues.

The building at 12 Fourth St. S.W. was purchased for $400,000 on Aug. 30 by AC Acquisitions LLC of Rochester, a Titan Development & Investments company. The 63-year-old building was sold by Roberta Herrell.

Titan is locally owned by the Chafoulias family, with Gus Chafoulias as chairman of the board and Andy Chafoulias as CEO.

The purchase is described as "a forward thinking investment" by John Beltz, Titan's vice president of brand management and development.

IMG_20130909_141341_696With no specific plans in the works, Beltz says no immediate changes are expected. Words Players, the nonprofit youth theater group using the building, will remain as a tenant.

The Chafoulias family has spearheaded a number of major developments in downtown Rochester in the past, including Shops at University Square Mall and the Doubletree Hotel. Two recently proposed Chafoulias projects that were announced in the wake of the DMC wave include a hotel/apartment complex on North Broadway and a multi-use building on South Broadway expected to feature an Italian restaurant, jazz/blues bar and other businesses.

The Fourth Street building stands adjacent to a rambling 15,000-square-foot building at 405 S. Broadway, which a nonprofit group hopes to demolish and re-develop as a four-story arts center, to be called the Rosie Belle Performing Arts Theatre.

Jan Daly, the founder of the Rosie Belle organization, said whatever eventually happens with the Fourth Street building should not impact her project.

"There's no change with our vision or mission," she said.

September 11, 2013

Gagnon sculpture goes on sale

A bronze sculpture by internationally renowned local artist Charles E. Gagnon recently went on sale by consignment in downtown Rochester.

Cache_4084796136The sculpture, called "Dancer Stretching," is on display at John Hasseler's Broadway Jewelry & Visual Arts, 325 South Broadway. Gagnon, who died in 2012, is best known locally for his Peace Plaza fountain sculpture.

His widow is developing the Charles E. Gagnon Museum and Sculpture Garden in the late artist's southwest Rochester home.

The bronze on display at Broadway Jewelry is 15" by 14" wide and weighs about 25 pounds. The owner lives in Montana and originally bought it directly from Gagnon in 2000 for $27,000. The asking price on the piece is $33,000.

Gagnon broke the mold after casting, so there is only one such sculpture. However, the artist did also make a larger version of the sculpture.

Hasseler, a goldsmith and jewelry maker, opened Broadway Jewelry in early 2012. He carries many original pieces of art, jewelry and offers watch repair. His gallery has works by three other bronze artists on display as well as 30 other artists.

September 09, 2013

IBM to drop 110,000 retirees off its health insurance plan

This is certainly an interesting shift that should impact a large number of Rochester retirees.

On Dec. 31, IBM is dropping all of its Medicare-eligible retirees from its health insurance coverage.

Maybe I should check with the Rochester IBM retirees group for some comments about this. Wonder if anyone would say anything on the record.

Here's some from an article by Spencer E. Ante of the Wall Street Journal:

International Business Machines Corp. plans to move about 110,000 retirees off its company-sponsored health plan and instead give them a payment to buy coverage on a health-insurance exchange, in a sign that even big, well-capitalized employers aren't likely to keep providing the once-common benefits as medical costs continue to rise.

The move, which will affect all IBM retirees once they become eligible for Medicare, will relieve the technology company of the responsibility of managing retirement health-care benefits. IBM said the growing cost of care makes its current plan unsustainable without big premium increases.

IBM buildinglogo-----

In notices signed by Chief Health Director Kyu Rhee, IBM has told retirees in recent weeks that to keep receiving coverage, they will need to pick a plan offered through Extend Health, a large private Medicare exchange run by New York-based Towers Watson & Co.

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"Cost increases under our current retirement group health care plan are no longer sustainable for you," IBM said in the notices. "Health care costs under IBM's current plan options for Medicare eligible retirees will nearly triple by 2020, significantly impacting your premium and out of pocket costs," the notice said.

September 08, 2013

New med spa to open soon in S.E. Roch.

Looks like Fat Willy's has a new neighbor - Posh Facial Esthetics and Med Spa.

IMG_20130907_180106_468I guess I haven't been paying close enough attention to that area for a while. It looks like Posh is very close to opening. In fact, Posh's website says they hope to open by Thursday, Sept. 12.

Stephanie Kriener, who's an ICU nurse, is the owner of this new venture.

Posh will offer a variety of facials, Botox treatments, waxing and tinting.

Now that center is completely full with the expanded Fat Willy's and the Hexum Cos. office sandwiched in between them.

September 04, 2013

New BK to start cooking

The ever-alert Todd Schwartz spotted a sign on the new Burger King fast food eatery on Marion Road saying it's opening today (Wednesday, Sept.4).

6a00d83451cc8269e2017d3bf391ec970c-250wiThis is the new place built by franchisee Dolphin Corp. on a long empty chunk of land at the corner of 12th Street Southeast and Marion Road Southeast.

That spot is in front of the new Marion Road Business Center and the Kwik Trip station on Marion Road. It is across 12th Street from the Cub Foods Plaza, where Dolphin has a Burger King. The new BK is replacing its older sibling location.

Dolphin Corp. owns all three Burger King restaurants selling in the Med City. They're located along South Broadway and North Broadway, as well as in the Cub Foods center.

September 03, 2013

Two new businesses in Valhalla Plaza

VahallasignsIt looks like Valhalla Plaza has a couple new businesses.

Guess I better check in with the guys at Braasch Commercial Real Estate to see what's shaking on Rochester's Elton Hills Drive.

Chickadee Music Studio sounds particularly intriguing.