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7 posts from February 2014

February 28, 2014

Furniture seller to move into Roch.'s empty Best Buy store

A well-known Minnesota furniture retailer has plans to open to new store in Rochester.

Schneiderman’s Furniture has signed a lease to take over the empty 30,991-square-foot store at 4540 Maine Ave. S.E., says Larry Schneiderman, who leads the firm's board. His company is leasing the space from Best Buy, which closed its south Rochester store there in 2012.

BestbuyDarci Fenske of Paramark Real Estate brokered the lease deal to bring furniture business to Rochester's Shoppes on Maine commercial development.

Schneiderman’s is a third generation, family-owned business with four stores in the Twin Cities and one in Duluth. It was founded by Larry Schneiderman's parents, and now his son, Jason Schneiderman, is the president of the business.

This will be the company's first foray into southern Minnesota.

The elder Schneiderman explains that he and his son Jason started researching options for expansion last year. Specifically, they were looking for a strong market within range of their distribution center in Woodbury, Minn. It didn't take long for Rochester to rise to the top of the list.

"It's a solid market, but also a solid city. We're really looking forward to opening in Rochester," says Larry Schneiderman. "Of course, there's the exciting things in the works for Rochester that we've all been reading about. But we think it's a good decision to be there, whether that all happens or not."

While the plans still are in the early stages, he hopes to open the new store early this summer. An estimated 16 to 20 employees are expected to staff it.

"We would like to, obviously, move as quickly as we can," Scheiderman says.

The first step will be to remove the building's distinctive Best Buy yellow and blue price tag facade. Then the interior will be completely overhauled "from the floor up to the lights," he said.

As real estate sales and home construction start to climb as the economy improves and the Destination Medical Center initiative begins to attract developers, competition is beginning to heat up in the furniture market.

Jim Sather and Mark Byer, who own Rochester's Furniture Superstore Factory Outlet and America's Mattress stores, have finalized plans to combine both of their stores into the soon-to-be-empty Menards facility at 5150 U.S. 52 North. The plan is open the mega-store this summer.
  
Not far from the site of Schneiderman's new location, two Rochester couples are working to open the independent Deutsch Furniture Haus in a 7,000-square-foot space at 3551 Commercial Drive Northwest in early April. It will specialize in local Amish-made furniture.

February 18, 2014

Weber & Judd to revamp eatery into drug store

Weber & Judd will more than double in size when it moves its south Rochester pharmacy into a former restaurant.

Since it purchased it from Ruffalo Drug a number of years ago, Weber & Judd has owned a pharmacy inside the Olmsted Medical Center at 210 Ninth St. S.E. While it has been a good location for the Rochester-based drug store chain, a decision was made to move the pharmacy down the street to the corner of South Broadway into the former Azteca Mexican restaurant at 18 Ninth St. S.E.

"We've been listening to our customers, and we're expanding to better meet their needs," Weber & Judd General Manager Todd Fox said. "We're really excited about this location."

Renovation of the 2,000-square-foot building is slated to begin soon. Fox is shooting to have the former Pizza Hut turned Mexican restaurant transformed into a full-service, professional drug store by early spring.

02142014weberjuddaztecaThis spot will allow the pharmacy to expand its over-the-counter product lines as well as general beauty products and greeting cards. Fox said they hope to use the additional space to also spotlight regional products like Vanicream better. They also plan to add a diabetic center, blood pressure screening and a larger customer consultation area.

The new location will also allow them to offer easier access, curbside parking and longer hours than the current location.

"The other really cool thing about this location is that not only will it better serve our current customers, it will be convenient for any of our customers," says Fox. "This is a great opportunity."

While it will give the drug store a chance to provide new things, the more than 150-year-old Weber & Judd still will offer its traditional services, such as free home delivery. The plan is to highlight the company's long history in Rochester by decorating the store with old Weber & Judd photos.

Fox estimates that once the new location opens, it will be staffed with 12 or more employees.

February 13, 2014

Chiropractor to expand former gas station into new clinic

A longtime Rochester chiropractic clinic has acquired a former gas station with plans to renovate and expand it into a new home.

Dr. Todd and Shelly Buchanan, who own and operate Northgate Chiropractic, bought the empty ex-Super America station at 600 11th Ave. N.W. at the end of January. The building is near the clinic's current home in the Northgate Shopping Center at 1204 Seventh St. N.W.

Northgatechiro"We plan to expand it by 1,000 feet. It already has 1,000 feet of space more than we have now," says Shelly Buchanan. "We wanted to be able to do more for our patients than we can now."

The plan is to begin construction in May with a goal of opening in the new location by late August or early September. Rochester contractor Alvin E. Benike Inc. is slated to do the work.

When completed, the new clinic will feature four treatment rooms as well as new equipment , including a motion x-ray machine and a decompression table. Northgate has two chiropractors with a team of 10 support staff.

In addition to the full range of chiropractic services and massage therapy, the new center will allow the Buchanans to begin offering physicals for people applying for Class B driver's license. They both hold equipment operator licenses from helping out at Fenske Recycling in Byron, which was owned by Shelly's parents. The couple cite the support of the Steve Fenske, who died in the fall, as key to this project coming together.

"We doing this in honor of dad," says Shelly Buchanan.

The former Super America site became available last year, when Holiday Station Stores bought all of the SAs in Rochester. The Bloomington, Minn.-based Holiday decided to close the 11th Avenue store instead of changing it over to their brand.

Kwik Trip, which has a station very near that building, decided to buy it for the premium price of $825,000 to control the future use of the site. Holiday bought it a month before for $179,000. The Buchanans paid $300,000 for it. Nick Pompeian of Realty Growth Inc. handled the deal.

February 12, 2014

KTTC owner to add more stations

The owner of the Rochester's KTTC-TV station announced Tuesday that it's acquiring four more stations, including one in Duluth.

Ef06da64-f7c8-40c1-b090-c0d0cb609f18Quincy Newspapers Inc., which has owned KTTC since 1974, is buying KBJR-TV and its satellite, KRII-TV, in Duluth, Minn.; WEEK-TV in Peoria/Bloomington, Ill.; WPTA-TV in Fort Wayne, Ind. and WBNG-TV in Binghamton, N.Y. from New York City-based Granite Broadcasting Corp.

Financial terms of the purchase were not released.

The deal also includes Quincy providing operating services to four other stations in the same type of the relationship that KTTC has with Fox affiliate KXLT-TV in Rochester. Those stations include KDLH-TV in Duluth, WISE-TV in Fort Wayne as well as WHOI-TV and WAOE-TV in Peoria/Bloomington.

The sale will not be official until it's approved by the Federal Communications Commission. If approved, Quincy's portfolio will grow to 23 stations in 14 markets. QNI also owns and operates two radio stations plus a newspaper in Quincy, Ill., along with a newspaper in Newton, N.J.

6a00d83451cc8269e20120a6402558970c-250wiJerry Watson, KTTC's general manager and one of Quincy's two regional vice presidents, says the timing of the FCC decision is hard to anticipate, but it usually takes a few months. A lot of final details cannot be worked out until that approval. However, Watson says this is a positive step for Quincy and Rochester.

"The good news is that Quincy is one of the very few small broadcast groups who are looking to grow. Unlike the investment firms buying up stations, the Oakley family (who own Quincy Broadcasting) are truly owner-operators. That's why I've stayed with them for 25 years," he says. "Picking up new stations is fun and we get to ride in like white knights."

Quincy purchased stations in Wisconsin and Iowa in 2006 and 2009.

“We are thrilled to acquire these stations as well as the operating agreements for the others,” stated Ralph M. Oakley, president-CEO of Quincy, in an announcement Tuesday. “Our company is committed to the communities and regions it serves by providing the best in local news, community affairs and entertainment.”

New_Quincy_logoThese new stations will add more work for the already-busy Watson, who already is in charge of  six broadcast markets in four states. The plan is for him to take over the management of the Peoria/Bloomington market. He already is in charge of the Illinois stations in Quincy and Rockford. The other regional vice president will manage the other seven markets.

It's possible this acquisition also could add more duties in Rochester, if any of these stations are added to the broadcasting "hub" based at KTTC. Rochester already handles the master control broadcast services for Quincy's operations in Sioux City and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

"As the hub, we're the center of the spokes of the wheel. We could easily take on more," said Watson. "We're in a good position here in Rochester."

February 10, 2014

City Centre plans take shape

Titan Development and Investments officials, led by father-and-son developers Gus and Andy Chafoulias, have finalized plans for a six-story commercial complex with a roof-top lounge on top to be built in downtown Rochester.

CitycentresiteWhen buzz about the project began in May, it was described by Andy Chafoulias as a four-story building. However, Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center initiative plus news that the tenants in the nearby seven-story Associated Bank Building are being displaced spurred the developers to change their plans.

The project, now called City Centre One, was earmarked by the Rochester City Council in September to be included in the $2 billion in private investment promised to the state as part of DMC.

A special redevelopment tax-increment-financing district was approved by the city to raise $300,000 to cover the asbestos removal and demolition of the former C.O. Brown building at 300 S. Broadway. Once the prep work is complete, the site will be ready for demolition crews to clear away the old building to make way for the City Centre One.

Titan submitted a development plan to the city last week, which is the first detailed description of the complex since it was first announced.

Plans by Rochester's CRW Architecture + Design Group show a 34,371-square-foot, seven-story complex.

The street level of the building is expected to feature an Italian restaurant, created and run by restaurateurs Pat Woodring and Scott Foster. Woodring and Foster are the minds behind Chester's Kitchen & Bar and Pescara. That floor will be the largest at 5,144 square feet in size.

The second through sixth floors are all expected to house commercial office tenants similar those that now lease space in the Associated Bank Building. Each of those floors are slated to be 5,121 square feet in size.

Topping the structure is a 3,622-square-foot rooftop lounge, which also will be a creation  of Woodring and Foster.

February 05, 2014

Mayo Clinic still fishing for plans for ex-Red Lobster space

Mayo Clinic has strapped on its bib and is taking a hammer to its Lobster.

Mayo has crews doing interior demolition in the former Red Lobster space at Second Street Southwest and Broadway in downtown Rochester. However, Mayo Clinic says that Exredlobster there's no plan behind the work being done in former 187-seat seafood restaurant.

"The future use of that space is still not decided," said Kelley Luckstein, Mayo Clinic public affairs.

The 11,880-square-foot, street-level space at 200 First St. S.W. is in the 60-year-old Rosa Parks Pavilion. Mayo Clinic has owned it since 1997.

After 25 years of leasing the space, Red Lobster moved out in 2011 to take over a former stand-alone restaurant by the Apache Mall. At that time, Mayo Clinic officials said they were considering options for the prominent downtown corner.

They were still pondering in 2012, when Mayo sent in workers to remove the carpet, paneling, ceiling tiles and bar left behind by the restaurant.

That work permit was very detailed in describing the purpose." Just removing items for clean-up to get rid of fish odor," it said. "Future tenant not defined at this time."

This latest permit, filed with the city last week, is not as colorful nor specific. However, it did estimate the value of the interior demolition job at $65,000.

That's a lot of clams for work on a space that has been drifting along without direction for three years.

It seems that Mayo Clinic still is fishing for a definition for that phrase from the 2012 permit: "Future tenant."

February 02, 2014

Teen fashion store closes at mall to make room for lingerie shop

After 13 years in Rochester's Apache Mall, teen clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch closed its doors last week.
A&f
A wall now covers where the 9,234-square-foot store once operated between Forever 13 and Hers in the Macy's wing of the mall.

It looks like the store never existed.

The Apache Mall management confirmed the fate of A & F on its Facebook page this weekend.

NOTE FROM KIGER: I know the mall forbids any unapproved photography of stores. I did not take this photo and I don't know who did.

"Unfortunately Abercrombie & Fitch's lease expired and they did leave Apache Mall," according to the posting. "However, Victoria's Secret will be relocating to their space in the spring."

Staff at Victoria's Secret confirmed the planned move, which could happen as soon as May. It'll remain open in the current locations until the new space is ready. The change should be a significant expansion for the lingerie store, if it takes all of the A&F space. Victoria's current store in the JC Penney wing is 5,641 square foot.

While A & F's closing came as surprise to Apache shoppers and neighboring mall stores, it was in the works for a while. The mall applied for a building permit for the project valued at $495,000 on Dec. 6.

However, the application did not mention Abercrombie & Fitch. The application for a remodel for Victoria's Secret did list the mall store number as 694, which is where A & F was located. Victoria's current store number is 656. It's not known what store might take Victoria's spot, when it eventually moves.

A & F, which is known for its loud music and its posters of scantily clad teen models, opened in the Apache Mall in the spring of 2000. It was a successful store for the mall, which lists its top three performing retail categories as teen apparel, women's apparel and women's accessories.

Abercrombie_Fitch_LogoThe past few years have not been kind to the once-trendy teen retailer with same-store sales steadily dropping. The bright spot at the start of 2014 was that its same-store sales only dropped 4 percent in the U.S., which was less than expected. It followed that with a re-organization of its top executives last week.

Its primary strategy to combat slumping sales has been to close stores. It closed 71 in 2012, which included three in Minnesota. Following the Rochester store closure, it now has only two in Minnesota.

About 50 more stores were closed in 2013. Abercrombie leaders pledged in 2013 that the company would ultimately shutter a total of 180 stores by 2015.