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164 posts categorized "Bank/credit union news"

April 10, 2014

Associated Bank working on new spots for Rochester branches

Associated Bank is planning to close its branch in the Hy-Vee North grocery  and then re-open it in a future northwest Rochester location.

Associateddrawing1The Green Bay, Wis. bank announced this week that it will close the grocery store branch at 500 37th St. N.W. at the end of July. Hy-Vee customers will then be served by Associated Bank's Rochester locations on South Broadway, First Avenue Southwest and 16th Street Southwest.

The five branch employees based at the Hy-Vee branch will work at Associated's three other Rochester branches until a new northwest facility "in the West Circle Drive corridor" is completed.

While bank officials wouldn't confirm the location of the to-be-constructed bank yet, Associated has submitted very early plans to the city to build a 3,683-square-foot branch in the 19th Street/West Circle Drive commercial development anchored by Costco.

Re-locating the northwest branch is not the only Rochester move coming up for the bank.

New owners have acquired Associated Bank's downtown building at 206 South Broadway and the bank needs to move out by spring 2015. There was speculation when the site development permit was filed for the West Circle Drive branch that it might serve as the new home for the downtown branch.

Not so, says the bank's spokesman. It's actively looking for a new location that will allow it to maintain its presence downtown.

“We are finalizing plans for an exciting new Associated Bank location in the West Circle Drive Corridor and continue to review opportunities for a new downtown bank location," stated Executive Vice President David Stein in this week's announcement.

Stein also commented that, "The greater Rochester area represents an important market for Associated Bank, and we are committed to serving our customers there with expanded operations and services."

Associated Bank entered the Rochester area in 2004, when it acquired First Federal Capital Bank. First Federal was short-lived here. It picked up the holdings of the long-time Marquette Bank in 2002.

January 16, 2014

Downtown parking lot sells for $2.8M

Developers continue to jockey for position in downtown Rochester, with the latest move being Titan Development's $2.8 million purchUSbanklotase of a large parking lot.

Rochester's Titan, the organization spearheaded by Andy and Gus Chafoulias, bought the 1.4-acre lot at 402 First Ave. S.W. from U.S. Bank on Dec. 31. It's a large piece of open land next to US Bank's downtown branch.

"It's an important piece of real estate as it relates to the urban village development in that area, but we don't really have a plan for it at the moment," said John Beltz, Titan's vice president of brand management and development.

WordsplayerstheaterThis buy enhances Titan's position in that part of downtown. The local firm also bought the Words Players youth theater building, just around the corner at 12 Fourth St. S.W. Beltz described it as "a forward thinking investment," when it happened at last summer. The 63-year-old building cost $400,000.

"There's no question that it (the U.S. Bank lot combined with the Words Players building) assembles a very important piece of downtown that we want to do something constructive with and something complimentary to the downtown master plan as we go forward," said Beltz. "But what that looks like, we just don't know yet."

U.S. Bank's branch at 401 First Ave. S.W. sits at the center of that "very important piece of downtown." And the bank plans to remain there.

"The branch will continue to operate with parking and drive-through banking access," said Pat Swanson, U.S. Bank's spokesman in response to emailed questions.

In fact, U.S. Bank even has permit applications in the pipeline to renovate the 37-year old brick building. The branch has 15 employees based there.

Does being surrounded by possible future development cause U.S. Bank any concern about the future of its branch?

"We’re pleased to see growth and development in Rochester," responded Swanson by email.

October 16, 2013

First Alliance to open new Roch. branch on 55th Street

First Alliance Credit Union hopes to open a new Rochester branch at 3900 55th St. N.W. in early 2014.

The Rochester credit union is leasing the 700-square-foot space aNew1stalliancebranch10162013nd plans to have three employees based there. It shares the building with the local Veteran's Affairs clinic. 

This will be First Alliance's fourth Rochester branch, including a small one-person office in the Kemps' facility on North Broadway. First Alliance also has a branch in Byron.

"This is a great opportunity to get our footprint in the market on 55th Street," said Mark Hettinger, First Alliance's chief operations officer. "A sizable percentage of our members live in the northwest area."

First Alliance is moving into a space last leased by Home Federal Savings Bank, which moved out last spring. Home Federal originally built the 9,800-square-foot facility in 2002. The Rochester bank sold the building to Les Nelson, of Clear Lake, Iowa, in 2009 for more than $2 million.

With the rise in online banking and direct deposit, today's customers don't go to branches to deposit paychecks or make withdrawals like previous generations did. However, customers do still like to deal with a person for some transactions, particularly for things like loans and mortgages.

"Branches are smaller now and really need to be strategically positioned," he said. The branch manager for the new branch also will be a loan officer.

That's why First Alliance is opening this branch on 55th Street, while it also owns land on 41st Street Northwest. Hettinger plans to watch the 55th Street location to help First Alliance gauge how to best use the 41st Street property.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the city, the credit union also is building a new full-service ATM site just off of 48th Street Southeast in Rochester's Shoppes on Maine development. It's being built near the big monument sign at the entrance to the commercial area.

Grading and ground work has begun there and Hettinger hopes to have the ATM site up and running by the end of November.

October 10, 2013

Associated Bank pays out $13 million, locally moves mortgage office

Here's a couple news tidbits about Associated Bank this week. One's a national deal and the other's about the downtown Rochester Associated branch:

As part of a $13 million lawsuit settlement, affected Associated Bank customers received automatic payments deposited into their accounts on Wednesday.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I received a settlement payment of $7.64 from Associated on Wednesday.

Qualified recipients, who are no longer Associated Bank customers, will receive a check by mail.

Customers did not need to file a claim to receive a payment. The payments were assigned automatically to customers who were improperly charged overdraft fees from 2004 and 2012.

While admitting no liability, the Wisconsin-based bank agreed to pay $13 million  to settle a class action lawsuit that accuses the bank of manipulating checking-account overdraft fees.

Green Bay, Wis.,-based Associated has 270 offices in Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota, including five branches in Rochester.

Closer to home, Associated Bank moved its mortgage personnel this week from the the second floor of its downtown branch to the main level. I believe that leaves that level empty or almost empty. That's interesting given the recent sale of that building.

associatedmortgageofficeBloom International Realty recently paid $7.7 million to three ownership groups for their portions of the Associated Bank Building at 206 S. Broadway.

On Sept. 16, Bloom paid $4 million to Associated Bank, which owned three floors. Local real estate investors Dave Bahr and Dr. Fred Carlson received $2.7 million for the three floors they owned. R & A Partnership, a group that includes some principals of the Dunlap & Seeger law firm, were paid $1 million for the fifth floor. The firm has offices on that floor as well as some on the fourth floor.

The tenants, which include the bank, the Dunlap & Seeger law firm, Exhibitor Magazine Group, Mayo Clinic, Cardon Outreach, the O'Brien & Wolf law firm, Minnesota Public Radio and others, were told they need to vacate the building at least by 2015.

September 25, 2013

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.


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.

March 01, 2013

Former Med City bank exec is bringing new loan office here, recruits Roch. bankers

8387813An Iowa bank - West Bank - will soon deposit a loan office in the Med City and it is tapping some local bankers to run it.
Nelson, dave - west bankWhile this will be the $1.4 billion community bank's first foray into the Rochester market, it's CEO is very familiar with the terrain. CEO Dave Nelson is certainly no stranger to the Med City.  Before taking the reins of West Bank in 2010, he was the president of Wells-Fargo Rochester.
Now after two years in Des Moines, Iowa, he is looking at Rochester to expand West Bank. And he is recruiting key executives from his old bank to manage this new project.

"It’s a great win/win for all of us. … We are committed to pursuing grMike Zinser photoowth opportunities where we can find the talent and strategic fit," he says. "In this case, we’ve been able to recruit long time Rochester banker Mike Zinser as our new Market President.”

The plan is to open a loan production office in Suite 100 of 3147 Superior Drive N.W. on March 18. It will be focused on business banking, though it will also offer treasure management services and home mortgages.
Mike Schletty photo
Zinser was previously a Regional Business Banking Manager for Wells Fargo’s Business Banking division in Rochester. 

The other two bankers - Mike Schletty and Michele Sursely - hired to run the new West Bank office are also former Wells-Fargo employees.

Schletty, most recently a senior business banker for Wells-Fargo, will serve as vice president of West Bank's Rochester time.Michele Sursely photo  Rounding out the team is Sursely, a 32-year Wells Fargo veteran.

“You can’t launch a new initiative like this without a hometown team.  Mike, Mike and Michele have made Rochester their home for years, and they know the community’s needs,” Nelson says.

The loan office may be just the beginning. West Bank sees a lot of potential in Rochester for its business-focus community bank.

"We see this as a temporary phase…a way to get started," he says, "In the future, we do envision building a more traditional bank branch in Rochester."

January 20, 2013

Spa spin-off is open after extreme makeover

Essence Med Spa, a spin-off of the original Essence Skin Clinic, is open for business in downtown Rochester at 23 Second St. S.W. in the former Odd Fellows building.

01-20-13essencemed1While construction crews are still putting the final finishing touches on the massive renovation project, owner Jennifer Sanneman opened the new Essence last week at corner of Second Street and First Avenue S.W.That's the spot by the legendary Eagle Drug Store, where Think Mutual Savings Bank used to have a branch.

Essence offers services such as permanent cosmetics, laser hair removal, chemical peels, liposuction, one-hour "face lifts," tattoo removal, Botox and other skin-related treatments.

Though it is only few blocks away from the first Essence, this location will allow Sanneman and her staff to better serve Mayo Clinic employees and patients as well as others who work downtown, she says.
 The plan is to focus on less invasive services, such as Botox, filler, facials and massages at the Med Spa. The more intensive and time-consuming procedures, like liposuction and skin re-surfacing, will be the emphasis at the original Broadway clinic.

During an earlier interview, she said, "It's just better to have two. We really love this space."

January 03, 2013

New sandwich chain to fire up in Rochester

After years of trying to fire up a Med City location, plans for a new Potbelly Sandwich Shop are heating up in downtown Rochester.

A group of local owners have signed a deal to open a Potbelly franchise — the first in southeastern Minnesota — in the 318 Commons building on First Avenue Southwest.

194896_416312508412371_1535335892_oThat'll put it in the same complex with hundreds of University of Minnesota Rochester students, The Loop bar and grill and the latest Eastwood Bank branch.

Potbelly, known for its toasted sandwiches and cast-iron potbelly stoves, has been looking to spark a franchise here since at least 2010. Fans have been vocal in their appeals for a local Potbelly.

In addition to warm sandwiches, Potbelly serves up salads, soups and hand-dipped milkshakes.

Owners Kirk and Kim Gordon are spearheading the project, along with partners John and Sandy Rogness and Bill and Erin Nystrom.

The decision to sign on for a Potbelly franchise was an easy one for the Gordons.

“We loved Potbelly when we lived in Chicago, and we’ve been hoping ever since that Rochester would be added to the Potbelly family," Kim Gordon said.  "We got tired of waiting and decided, ‘Let’s bring it here ourselves.’”

There's no target opening date yet, but look for construction of the new sidewalk level eatery to kickoff very soon. The chain's namesake stove commemorates how the first shop started as an antique store then evolved into an eatery. Expect customized woodwork within.

Potbelly typically hires about 20 to 30 people to staff a shop.

It'll be interesting to see how this new player in Rochester's already meaty sandwich market carves out its own niche. The Med City already sports Jimmy John's, Subway, Quizno's, Cousin's and local deli-style places like Salad Brothers, City Market, Nelson Cheese and others

In 2010, Potbelly's franchise manager was confident that a shop was destined for Rochester.

"These are definitely not cookie cutter shops. We want to be part of a community," Mike Walters said back then. "We want to be a neighborhood sandwich shop."

October 22, 2012

Old building gets facelift for spa biz

UPDATE - The print version of this piece was wrong on one point. Essence Skin Clinic is not moving. The Oddfellows space will be used to house a new sister business to be called Essence Med Spa.

I apologize for the error.



A high-profile downtown spot is getting a facelift as it prepares to put its best face forward for a new tenant.

622123_10151126017021359_2024214389_oWork is under way at 23 Second St. S.W. for an extensive remodel to freshen up the space for Essence Med Spa. That is a spin-off from Essence Skin Clinic, which is based at 400 S. Broadway in the Riverside Building.

Owner Jennifer Sanneman  began the business in 1998. Essence offers services like permanent cosmetics, laser hair removal, chemical peels, tattoo removal, Botox and other skin-related treatments.

I should have more details on this project soon.

That space in the 131-year-old former Odd Fellows building at Second Street and First Avenue Southwest was last occupied by Think Mutual Bank. Think moved to the Minnesota Biobusiness Center building in July 2011.

Essence will share the Odd Fellows building with Eagle Drug Store, Newt's Express and HDR Architecture.

Baheya LLC of Rochester bought the building last year for $5.3 million from 23 Second Street SW LLC.

April 30, 2012

New owner of ex-Pump-N-Munch....?

Last week I started hearing some about a possible sale of the former BP Pump-N-Munch C-store at South Broadway and 16th Street, but I didn't have a chance to dig for details. 04292012expumpmunchonsbroadway

Then the ever-sharp-eyed Jack Van Sickle spotted a "Sold" sign there over the weekend. So after brunch at Denny's on Sunday, I popped by to get a pic (with my surprisingly patient kids in the car).

This is an interesting deal. Of all of the Pump-N-Munches that closed in the summer of 2009, this is probably the spot with the highest profile.

I remember when that one switched from being a Conoco to BP. And I was there the day the they pulled the tanks and tore down one of the pump shelters.

John Jensen and Jack Briggs of Kato Inc. owned all of them at that time. Since then, most have been demolished or re-purposed.

• The Elton Hills one was leveled to make way for Family Video.

• The 37th Street one became a Subway sandwich shop.

• The Country Club Manor one transformed in an Andy's liquor store.

• The Salem Road one was cleared away to make way for a future Think Mutual Bank branch.

• The 15th Avenue one shifted gears as a used car dealership and now houses the Opa Opa! greek cuisine eatery.

The one by Famous Dave's near Civic Center Drive remains standing and empty.

So the question on the table today is who bought the South Broadway one and what do they plan to do with it. 

I'll hopefully have that answer soon. stay tuned.