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385 posts categorized "Breaking news"

June 26, 2015

A taste of the East Coast coming to Med City

The flavor of the East Coast is on its way to southwest Rochester.

Joe Phillips is cooking up a new eatery called Jersey Jo's to serve up "authentic Philly Cheesesteaks and more."

FireShot Capture - Order Online - http___jerseyjos.com_order-onlineHe hopes to be able to open Jersey Jo's by mid-July at 187 16th Ave. SW. Cousins Subs is moving out of that 1,600-square-foot spot in the Shoppes on Second commercial center at the end of June. That address will put him just a couple blocks away from Mayo Clinic's St. Marys Hospital and many hotels.

Phillips, a software programmer who will continue that profession remotely from the restaurant, said this new project started very simply.

"I couldn't get a cheesesteak anywhere around here that I liked," he said. So after years of looking, he finally decided to open a place of his own.

Phillips plans to "import" many of the ingredients for the Jersey Jo's signature cheesesteak sandwiches from the East Coast to create as authentic of a flavor as possible.

In addition to Philly cheesesteaks, Jersey Jo's also will serve cold hoagie sandwiches, chicken wings and a trio of specialty burgers. The meat will be sliced on-site, deli-style for each of the made-to-order sandwiches.

While he has long worked in the technology industry, Phillips knows his way around a kitchen from years in restaurants during college.

Phillips' vision for Jersey Jo's is to create a laid-back place like the small mom-and-pop corner shops he remembers from growing up in New Jersey.

"I want to offer a nondiscriminatory place for people to come and feel welcome while they have some good food," he said.

He expects to have about eight people on staff.

 

June 23, 2015

Couple give Rochester a double kick with 2nd gym

A Rochester gym is now giving the Med City a double kick with a new second location.

Daniel and Norma Flores opened their second 9Round Gym on June 10 in Suite 104 at 3270 19th St. NW. That's in the 19th Street Business Park.

Photo_4_1382974688_1"This is area is really growing," said Norma Flores of the new gym. "We have a lot of members from Byron, Mantorville and Kasson. This is a good spot for people to stop before or after work."

The fitness franchise offers a 30-minute circuit workout based on boxing and kickboxing training. The workouts involve aerobic, anaerobic and strength training, tailored to each members' ability.

Members can come in at anytime and be guided through the nine workout stations or "rounds," including kettle bells, jump ropes and lots of punching and kicking.

"The workout changes every day and there's always a trainer to help and encourage," she said.

In 2013, the Flores opened their first 9Round Gym in the River Center Plaza. They later moved that original gym to Suite 101 in 2571 Clare Lane NE. That's in the Century Business Plaza.

They now have about 300 members. In addition to the two owners,  9Round has a staff of six trainers.

June 19, 2015

Bingo is coming back to Rochester

Get your scorecards and ink daubers ready.

Rochester's Elks Club is bringing Bingo back to the Med City.

"We want to open an old-fashioned Bingo hall," said Sue Foster, the current president (Exalted Ruler) of the Elks Club.

18_black_vector_fan-5-sm_1_1Fans of the popular game haven't had a regular place to play since the Rochester Senior Center closed its Flamingo Bingo in December. 

The plan is to open the club's doors at 1652 U.S. Highway 52 North in the Hillcrest Shopping Center on June 30 and start calling numbers. The Elks will host evening bingo games on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, plus on Sunday afternoons.

The club, which has 378 members, has worked its way through the state's complex charitable gambling process and is almost ready to go.

"We have a charitable gambling manager, an assistant gambling manager, callers and a concession stand," Foster said.

In the run up to the opening, the club will have trial runs for the staff with its members to work out the bugs before allowing the public in to play, he said.

Of course, the Elks already know the rules of the game. Flaming Bingo operated in the Elks Club for about eight months until it closed. It had been displaced from its former building at 2828 Highway 52 North, which was sold to a Twin Cities car dealership and eventually demolished.

With construction of the new Senior Center addition to the Rochester Recreation Center underway, Senior Center Executive Director Sally Gallagher said the center's board of directors decided to focus on that instead of the seven-year-old Flamingo Bingo. In addition, the center's charitable gambling manager resigned and the bingo venture saw declining revenue.

ElksThe Senior Center raised $100,000 in funds in 2013 with the Flamingo Bingo parlor, but the dollars started fading after moving in with the Elks.

"We did not have the visibility we'd hoped for. We had a significant attendance decline after the move. Though, it is a lovely space," Gallagher said last year. 

After investing in creating that "lovely space," the Elks Club saw an opportunity to raise more funds for their organization and other local nonprofits.

"We did this years ago at our old location (at 917 15th Ave. SE). So we thought, why not try something like this and give more back to the community," Foster said. 

June 16, 2015

Developer with Med City projects buys Pioneer Press building

A South Dakota developer who has three Rochester apartment complexes in the works is expanding into the less expensive market of St. Paul by buying the Pioneer Press building.

Stencil Homes, of Sioux Falls, S.D., bought the newspaper's eight-story headquarters at 345 Cedar Street on Friday. Developer and builder Nate Stencil says he plans to convert it into 150 to 168 market-rate apartments. Rochester Realtor Merl Groteboer, of Re/Max Results, handled the purchase for Stencil.

PioneerPressBuildingThe newspaper plans to announces its moving plans soon. Stencil hopes to begin construction in early 2016.

The purchase price was not released, though the building had been listed at $4.2 million. Whatever the price, it mostly likely was not close to the premium prices that downtown Rochester properties are selling for amid the Destination Medical Center boom.

"After hanging out in Rochester for a few years, things were looking pretty cheap up there (in St. Paul)," said Stencil on Monday. "After establishing a presence in Rochester, we couldn't help but look at more opportunities in the area. This is a good opportunity."

St. Paul real estate certainly looks to be more affordable than in downtown Rochester. Bloom International Realty paid $7.7 million for the seven-story Associated Bank Building at 206 S. Broadway in downtown Rochester in 2013. In 2014, the three-story Brackenridge Skyway Plaza at 21 Second St. S.W. was purchased by Baheya LLC for $10 million.

Stencil has two apartment complexes under construction in Rochester, Nue52 (formerly called Woodland Park) and Kascade Place, plus a third one in downtown that's still in the planning stages.

He expects the 83-unit Nue52 to be ready for tenants late this summer. It's at Rochester's 65th Street Northwest interchange across U.S. 52 from the North Menards store. Stencil describes Nue52 as it architecturally will be similar to the Metropolitan Marketplace complex in downtown Rochester.

Work on Kascade Place, which is near Nue52, is in the early stages. It will have 96 apartments. Stencil estimates it should be completed by the first quarter of 2016.

Details of the largest project, a $15 million, 110-unit apartment complex near downtown, still are being worked out at this point. Stencil and his partner, Sean A. Kaufhold, previously announced that they plan to build a six-story apartment complex with street-level retail space on Third Avenue Southeast and Fourth Street. That's across from the Olmsted County Government Center and Rochester City Hall.

To clear the way for that project, Stencil Homes purchased three buildings — Buckeye Liquor, the empty Flowers By Jerry shop and the former 3rd Avenue Pet Hospital — in 2014. The company previously had planned to have construction underway by now, but nothing has been done yet.

"We've met with the neighborhood. Now we're doing some re-tooling. We're trying to gauge what everyone would like to see," he said. "We're hoping to start by the first of the year."

Those apartments, along with the Kascade Place apartments, will be priced comparably to other market-rate units in Rochester, he said. That means rents ranging from $900 to $1,000 per month.

June 15, 2015

Former Cardio3 launching $99 million IPO in US and worldwide

Celyad, formerly Cardio3 Biosciences, announced the terms for its $99 million stock offering this morning.

The Belgium-based Celyad, which is building a manufacturing facility in downtown Rochester and has close ties with Mayo Clinic, hopes to raise $99 million by offering 1.4 million shares at $70.98 per share.

CelyadWhile Celyad has traded on the European stock markets of NYSE Euronext Brussels and NYSE Euronext Paris for some time, this stock offering would introduce the regenerative medicine firm directly to the U.S. market. It has applied to make the U.S. offering on the Nasdaq stock market under the symbol CYAD.

A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission but has not yet become effective. It cannot sell or accept offers to buy until the SEC OKs the registration.

This move could benefit Mayo Clinic, which owned 2.69 percent of Celyad as of March 3. Mayo Clinic first acquired equity in Cardio3 in 2007, when it licensed stem-cell research by Mayo Clinic's Dr. Andre Terzic and Dr. Atta Behfar. Its cardiopoiesis technology repairs patients' hearts by re-programming their own stem cells to regenerate cardiac tissue.

Earlier this year, the Rochester City Council recently approved a lease for Celyad to take over the entire fifth floor of Rochester's Minnesota BioBusiness Center. Rochester Area Economic Development Inc. and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development also are involved in the deal.

Celyad is building a prototype manufacturing facility in the 14,963-square-feet of space on the fifth floor of the downtown building. Mayo, which leases the fourth through eighth floors, moved its employees out of the fifth floor earlier this year. The five-year lease calls for it to pay a rent of $18 per square foot, or $22,444.50, per month. The city agreed in the lease to pay for $600,000 in equipment and improvements to the space.

DEED is offering Ceylad a $357,000 Minnesota Job Creation Fund award if it invests $1.5 million in Rochester within a year and hires 33 employees within two years. The average wages of the new jobs will be $21.52 per hour.

June 12, 2015

Checking in with Sonic

Hopeful rumors of a Sonic Drive-in opening in Rochester have been buzzing around… again.

I called Oklahoma City, Okla.-based burger and shake chain in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 to see if car hops and cherry limeades might be on the way to the Med City.

Sonic-drive-inI've never received an answer that made local Sonic fans happy. And unfortunately, the 2015 call did not turn out any differently.

"We do not have any signed contracts or any under construction drive-ins there," said Sonic's Communication Manager Jason Acock. "I don't see any plans right now of opening up in Rochester."

However, there's always a possibility. Sonic has opened a number of drive-ins in the Twin Cities and in nearby Wisconsin in the past eight years.

"We're open to looking all over the county right now. We're looking to expand everywhere," said Acock. "Hopefully, somebody will step forward and a franchisee will want to open a location up there."

Rochester childcare center growing with new infant facility

A young child-care center is preparing to take the step to more than double capacity to better serve Rochester's growing demand for infant care.

First Steps Childcare Center is preparing to break ground on July 1 for a second facility on its campus at 3089 25th St. NW.

Founder and director Cassie Fenstra says the new building, which will be across the parking lot from her original one, will include seven classrooms, two offices and a basement conference room. The new building will be called Little Steps Campus.

1"It will be bigger than the one we have now. It'll be an infant specific building and our existing building will then handle toddlers and preschoolers," she said. "We have a wait list for infants that's like a mile long."

Fenstra opened First Steps in 2014. The center uses a tailored curriculum for each age group — infant, toddler, preschool and pre-kindergarten.

First Steps now cares for 72 children; 22 are infants and 50 are 16-months to 5-years-old. Building the new Little Steps Campus building will be bring Little Steps' capacity up to 150.

She has a staff now of 18 employees, but that will change with the new building.

"We'll need to at least double the staff by the time whole center is built," said Fenstra. 

June 10, 2015

Conley-Maass building sold for $450,000

The anticipated sale of a 115-year-old downtown Rochester landmark wrapped up on June 1.

Hunter and Traci Downs bought the Conley-Maass building at 14 Fourth St. SW for $450,000 with the intention of restoring it and using it as a business center. The couple, under the corporate name of CMD Holdings LLC, purchased it from AC Acquisitions LLC of Rochester
09062015conleymaasbuilding
AC Acquisitions, an offshoot of the Chafoulias family's Titan Development & Investments company, bought the building for $400,000 in 2013.

The building's last two tenants, Words Players Theatre and the Just For Kix dance studio, are moving out and construction is expected to begin soon.

June 09, 2015

Roch. repair shop get new name, but everything else remains same

The name over the door at Rochester's 434 South Broadway is new, but everything else about the auto repair shop is the same as it was before.

The Eastman Auto Repair sign recently went up on the small shop along the Zumbro River, though customers of Zeus Auto Repair will find nothing unchanged, said Zane Zodrow.

06092015eastmanautoZodrow, who owned Zeus Auto, says he sold the business to Gay Eastman at the start of 2015. The new sign just reflects that sale. He remains the manager of the three person, full-service shop.

"It's all the same. Honesty is still our main thing. We still treat people how we would want to be treated," he said. "We offer the same warranties."

However, Zodrow does a see a change coming down the road in the future.

The shop's building, which is owned by local investors, stands where Associated Bank would like to build a branch. That proposed project is still scheduled to go before the Rochester City Council after being rejected by the Rochester-Olmsted Planning and Zoning Commission.

Whether the bank branch goes forward or not, Zodrow does anticipate that the current shop will be  eventually be displaced by some sort development.

"We are looking for a new location," he said.

Zeus Auto Repair has operated at the prominent South Broadway location since 2010, when Zodrow moved from his previous spot on on Second Street Southwest.

June 04, 2015

Furniture Superstore to add used cars to Rochester's 'Car Row'

A little more than a year after turning a former Menards store into the Furniture Superstore, Jim Sather is ready to add used cars to his northwest Rochester facility.

In 2014, Sather and Mark Byer moved their Furniture Superstore and America's Mattress stores into the ex-Menards facility at 5150 U.S. Highway 52 North. Now, Sather has plans to convert the southwest corner of the store's massive parking area into the Auto Superstore, a used car dealership.

Logo"I've been thinking about it for a couple years. This is where all the car dealers are," he said referring to the "Car Row" line of dealerships along the frontage road.

Sather said he hopes to be licensed and ready to open by the end of June. Once licensed, Auto Superstore will start acquiring vehicles with the goal of having about 10 on the lot when it opens.

The dealership will be staffed by two and will use a separate entrance to the store as a base of operations.

As far as the Furniture Superstore goes, Sather says it has done "exceptionally well" since it moved last summer from its original home at 3185 41st St. NW. The opportunity to move to the current location opened up in April 2014, when Menards moved to a newly completed $12 million store near the intersection of U.S. 52 and 65th Street Northwest.

The independent Furniture Superstore opened in 2003. Sather and Byer added America's Mattress in 2005.