A more than $100 million housing and commercial development is proposed for a high-profile corner of Second Street Southwest, next to Mayo Clinic's Saint Marys campus.
The plans call for a 13-story building with two levels of underground parking to be built on more than two acres at the southwest corner of 14th Avenue Southwest and Second Street.
The Brentwood on 2nd and the Ray-Mar Motel stand on that corner. The hotels, along with some nearby houses, will be demolished to clear the way for the project. The Brentwood also houses several businesses, including City Market, Charlie’s Eatery & Pub, A Shared Smile and the Healing Touch Spa.
While some details could change as it goes through the permitting process, the proposal includes 359 housing units with 310 "luxury" apartments in the tower and 49 connected townhomes.
The plan also includes almost 900 parking spaces, some of which will be public. The townhomes will act as a buffer between the parking and the Folwell neighborhood. The developers hope eventually to connect the project to Saint Marys Hospital via subway.
The tower on the corner is expected to include about 20,000 square feet of commercial space, including 13,000 square feet on the street level that will encourage sidewalk traffic with a restaurant and retail.
"This project is completely different from than anything that has ever been built in Rochester," said longtime local developer Ed Pompeian. "This beautiful building will be first thing you see coming into Rochester from the highway, heading into the medical corridor."
Pompeian, along with his son, Nick, is partnering with a Twin Cities real estate development firm, Alatus LLC, to create this project. The Pompeians lead a local investment group, 1406 Second Street Associates, which controls the hotels and all of the property where the project will be built.
Mayo Clinic is not directly involved with the project at this point.
'An amazing beacon for the area'
Alatus is well-known for handling massive developments, such as Mayo Clinic Square, Latitude 45 Apartments and The Carlyle condos in Minneapolis. It is led by founder Bob Lux.
"I think it's going to serve as an amazing beacon for the area," said Chris Osmundson, the Alatus senior development associate working on the project. "In real estate, it's always location, location, location, and this one's got it."
The Pompeians and Alatus have been working on this plan for about two years. They now are bringing it to the city for pre-development meetings, followed by the approval process. If everything goes well, they could start clearing the site for construction sometime this summer or early fall.
Estimating a 16- to 18-month construction period, Osmundson said it's possible the project could be finished by spring 2018.
This is the first major project pitched for that area since the implosion of a proposed Holiday Inn hotel complex late last year. That project struggled though the planning process and was criticized by some neighborhood groups.
However, these developers are optimistic, after getting positive feedback from the Folwell, Kutzky and Historic Southwest neighborhood associations.
"It was very refreshing for everybody. Support was literally unanimous from the neighborhoods. Great things can happen, if you take the proper steps," said Nick Pompeian.
Talks started more than a year ago
Don Nordine, president of the Folwell Neighborhood Association, said the developers started talking to his group about a year and a half ago.
"We like the project, even though it is really big," he said. Folwell includes 200 houses, while the project will have 359 apartments and townhomes.
While the group supports the project, that doesn't mean they still don't have some concerns, said Nordine. The public parking aspect of the development has residents worried about traffic.
"The city and the developer have to get this right. We want this to keep this neighborhood residential and quiet. I think they are open and honest, but the devil is in the details," Nordine said.
Jesse Welsh, president of the Kutzky Park Neighborhood Association, is also positive about her interaction with Alatus and the Pompeians so far. While they have not been able to schedule an official presentation with her association yet, Welsh sat in on a Folwell meeting and spoke with Lux. She plans to brief her association on the project at a neighborhood meeting tonight. Members of the independent Imagine Kutzky advocacy group also sat in on meetings and were supportive of what they heard, she said.
Traffic is also a concern for the Kutzky neighborhood, but overall, Welsh was pleased with Lux's approach.
"What impressed me the most was how well they've worked with Folwell. They understand how critical it is to work with the neighborhood," she said.