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January 30, 2014

Dunkin' Donuts rolling into Roch.

The deal is done and Dunkin' Donuts is rolling into downtown Rochester.

After months of rumors, the famous coffee and pastry chain officially is signed up to open on First Avenue Southwest in the Kahler Grand Hotel complex.

Simpsons_donuts-l1"We want to make sure the tenants we have are viable for Mayo's DMC plans," said Cherylanne Thomas, managing director of marketing for Richfield Hospitality in Rochester, Richfield manages the five Kahler hotel properties here.

"Obviously, Dunkin' is a great brand. They were looking to lease in the area. It seemed like a good fit," she said.

Thomas says a franchisee, Donuts Non Traditional LLC, plans to open a Dunkin' Donuts between Hanny's and Victoria's Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar. The move of Optical Vision with Flair into part of the Hanny's store is opening up the space for the doughnut maker.

Building permits for the project were submitted this week to the city. The rough timeline is for the new Dunkin' Donuts to open by late June or early July, according to Thomas.

This could be the first of an estimated 50 Minnesota locations the company would like to open in the next few years. Dunkin' Donuts hasn't had a presence in Minnesota for almost a decade. The final shop, which was in Austin, closed in 2005. The Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin' Brands announced its plans to return to the state earlier this month. 

At that time, Steve Rafferty, senior director of U.S. franchising, stated that the new locations would be focused around the Twin Cities metro areas as well as Rochester, Mankato and Duluth.

Rafferty said franchisees need to have a minimum of $250,000 in "liquid capital" and $50,000 net worth per location. Each franchisee is responsible for a territory with at least six locations.

Rochester's franchisee, Donuts Non Traditional LLC, incorporated in October. While Thomas describes it as being based in the Twin Cities, state documents list its address as the same as Rochester's Dunlap & Seeger law firm. It's not unusual for some companies to use their attorneys' address for such filings. Dunlap & Seeger also represents Kahler Hotel properties.

This is the latest in a series of tenant changes, some of which have spurred lawsuits from tenants unwilling to move. Javon R. Bea, the chair of the Kahler Hotel Group's board of directors, has been orchestrating the changes.

Thomas said Bea's goal is make the hotels better.

"Obviously, he supports both retail and restaurants in the community," she said.

The expectation at this point is that the new Dunkin' Donut location will be open seven days a week. Thomas added that the franchisee is planning on using the company's latest design concept for this location.

"It'll feel more like a cafe," she said.

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hard to get to at that location

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