New local owners hope to breathe new life into a 129-year-old building in downtown Rochester.
On Nov. 20, local developers Grant Michelitz and Hal Henderson purchased the long-empty former Paine Furniture store site at 313 S. Broadway as well as the 309 S. Broadway building now occupied by Big Brad's on Broadway. The pair acquired the property from Cedric Paine under a Contract for Deed deal for $1.7 million. Michelitz said negotiations for the sale have been ongoing since the Paine Furniture store closed in 2006.
While they plan to upgrade and restore the property, Michelitz says no deals for new tenants have been signed yet.
"The word leaked out pretty quick. We have got several meetings with prospective tenants coming up here in the next week or so," he said. "We're already invested in that block. We like the direction that it is going in."
The business partners also own the nine-story 318 Commons complex used by the University of Minnesota for student housing and classes. It's behind the Paine site facing First Avenue. Henderson, the principal in the Rochester office of HGA Architects and Engineers, also owns the adjacent Press Coffee & Tea Lounge at 315 S. Broadway and the Canvas & Chardonnay building at 317 S. Broadway.
Michelitz owns the 220 and 222 buildings across Broadway from the Paine site. They both have been renovated in a classic style similar to what is expected to happen at the Paine building.
If the weather allows yet this year, they hope to soon replace the second-story windows with double hung ones that better match the original design of the building, said Michelitz. They also expect to add an elevator and stairway tower on the alley side of the building to make the second story accessible.
Built in 1885, the 313 building housed the Paine Furniture Co. for 104 years from 1902 to 2006. In 1927, the Paines expanded into the 309 building, which had been home to the Klee grocery store and the Stedman bakery prior to that.
This sale is the latest in a long string of business changes and real-estate sales in Rochester's downtown.
Michaels restaurant, Barnes & Noble bookstore and Sontes all have announced they will close at the end of this month, and Hanny's Men's Wear is closing its street-level store.
Michelitz declined to speculate on the future of the area, but seemed optimistic.
"It is really fluid right now. I think we all hope for smart growth," he said.