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1263 posts categorized "Construction news"

May 24, 2016

Bye Buckeye, hello Ovation?

The name of a 92-unit apartment complex being built on the corner of Fourth Street and Third Avenue Southeast in downtown Rochester has been a sensitive issue for some of the neighbors. 
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South Dakota developer Stencil Homes labeled it Buckeye Apartments as a nod to the Buckeye Liquor store that was demolished to make way for the project. Some in the neighborhood didn't think that was an appropriate name. Now it looks like the developer has decided to try something different.

Stencil Homes' website shows a 92-unit apartment building as a Rochester project, but it's not called Buckeye anymore. The new name under the old rendering of the complex is Ovation.

This must have been a recent change. The Answer Man wrote about this on April 27 and Buckeye still was the moniker at that point. CEO Nate Stencil was not available Monday to answer questions about the Ovation name, but it looks like concerned neighbors should give themselves a round applause for the spurring a name change.

 

May 23, 2016

Auto Techs to close at end of June

After 24 years in the fast lane, Roger Gansen is ready to slow down a bit.

Gansen has owned and run Auto Techs, a repair and sales shop, in Rochester since 1992. He has operated at his current location at 650 S. Broadway for about 12 years.

11146464_358227187720296_512149979420663139_oNow he has a "Closing soon" sign out front as he prepares to sell his property to the Lamont Cos. He plans to close the doors of his two-man shop at the end of June.

"It's kind of tough," said Gansen of the closure.

However, part of him is looking forward it.

"I'm ready for a change," he said. "I think this is kind of an opportune time for it."

The big question is will he re-open the popular Auto Techs somewhere else. That's a question he really doesn't have answer for.

"As of right now, everything is up in the air," Gansen said on Friday. "But right now, I'm looking forward to slowing down a bit."

While he is slowing down, the activity on that block of South Broadway is quickly ramping up this summer.

Lamont Cos. are the developers who recently purchased the adjacent Clarion Inn for $5 million with plans to build a newCandlewood Suites hotel and retail center. A liquidation sale of all of the hotel's furnishings and fixtures is underway.

Based in South Dakota, Lamont Cos. are the same developers who built Rochester's Holiday Inn by the Miracle Mile shopping center on Second Street in 2012.

May 10, 2016

$100 million development proposed near Saint Marys

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.

Development1The 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.

05-09 4Brentwood enWhile 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.

Development3"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.

 

April 08, 2016

New Rochester art gallery is thinking big

Wendy Westlake has a big vision for 535 Gallery, her new Rochester art gallery.

"The concept is for large-scale contemporary pieces as a service for designers and the general public looking for a distinctive statement piece to make an impact in a large space," explained Westlake, as she took a break from converting a former industrial space into an art gallery.

04072016535galleryWith the help of her gallery director, Nick Sinclair, Westlake is working on the new gallery at 535 Sixth Ave. N.W. in Rochester's artsy Cooke Park Design District. The more than 2,000-square-foot gallery will share the block with the funky Dwell Local art and antique shop as well as Fox & Fern Floral and A Beautiful Soul, a New Age Boutique and healing store.

They hope to open the doors some time this summer. Realtor Dylan Carty, of Rochester's Realty Growth Inc. (RGI), handled the deal to line up that spot for 535 Gallery.

Westlake's 535 Gallery is located between the imported car repair shop, Werkstatt 533, and Auto Refinishers Plus.

"We think this Cooke Park area is a good place for us to be. We like what it is becoming," she said. "Though it is kind of a strange place to be sandwiched between two auto places."

Westlake and Sinclair caution that people should not expect a gift shop or even a place like the recently closed SEMVA (Southeastern Minnesota Visual Artists) gallery. It will specialize in paintings and mixed media pieces with interior designers in mind, though it also will be open to the public. They envision the large artworks in both local residences and commercial spaces.

They are adding a designer's room to the gallery for meetings with interior designers and their clients.

"It'll be a nice space where we can show them our catalog of art," said Sinclair.

The plan is to host 10 exhibitions featuring two local or regional artists every year. 

SEMVA, which was downtown near Mayo Clinic, was popular with visitors. Westlake expects 535 Gallery to serve a different group of customers, because of the size of its art and its location.

"We want to be an art gallery for Rochester," she said. 

 

April 01, 2016

MEP engineering to move to new Rochester office

A growing engineering firm is planning to move soon to a new, larger northwest Rochester office.

The Rochester office of Eau Claire, Wis.-based MEP Associates plans to move into the former Venture Computer Systems/ Marco Inc. complex at 3416 Lakeridge Place NW.

Ex-venturecomplex"The building is empty and we've already started construction," said Luke Johnson, a mechanical engineer and project manager at MEP. "We're going more than double our office space."

MEP is moving from 2900 43rd St. NW. MEP opened its Rochester location there in 2009. MEP hired the entire engineering team from the former Holabird & Root office, when Holabird closed up its Med City location.

Since MEP began operating in Rochester, this location has flourished and grown. It opened in 2009 with the nine ex-Holabird engineers. MEP, which handles a lot of projects for Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota and Carleton College, now has 15 staffers in Rochester.

"With the new space, we'll have room to add 10 more people," said Johnson. "We're seeing a lot of construction of all kinds, mostly in the Rochester region. Two of our niches, building labs and campus utilities, are very active."

MEP is leasing the 9,794-square-foot Lakeridge complex from owner Jon Eckhoff.  Eckhoff originally built it 2005 for his company, Venture Computer Systems. Marco Inc. bought Venture in 2009 and leased the building from Eckhoff. 

Marco moved to a new Rochester office at 1014 Bel Air Lane NW in 2014.

 

February 19, 2016

A second scoop of Flapdoodles is on the way

A double scoop of Flapdoodles Ice Cream is on the way for Rochester.

Flapdoodles-homemadeMatt Tierney, who launched his original hand-made ice cream shop in 2011, has decided to open a second location at 1710 South Broadway. That's the former Wheeler's Autobody Supply building.

While this will be another full restaurant site, Tierney said this is not just about reaching more customers.

Flapdoodles.1jpg1"What really drove the whole decision was a lack of production space (at the current 3525 22nd Ave. NW)," he said. "We've been growing every year and we just don't have enough room."

That means the back of the South Broadway store will be devoted to making ice cream for both stores. During the busy days of summer, Flapdoodles makes about 400 gallons of ice cream per week.

Tierney hopes to have the new store ready to open by early to mid-summer. He has about 20 employees on staff at the 22nd Avenue location and expects to have a similar crew at the new store.


"We really like the feel of South Broadway with a lot of hotels and Graham Arena nearby. And we're close enough to downtown, that you can see Mayo Clinic from the windows," he said.


He purchased the 38-year-old building from Wernimont Properties on Feb. 12 for $500,000. Darci Fenske of Paramark Real Estate represented Tierne Wheeler's Autobody Supply y in the deal, and Jay Christenson of Braasch Commercial Real Estate represented Wernimont. Wernimont Properties bought the 1710 South Broadway building in April 2015 from $389,900/

In the few years since it opened the former Subway sandwich shop, Flapdoodles has attracted a growing crowd of fans.

"Our customers are nice combination of local people, visitors to Mayo and people here for sports tournaments," said Tierney. "I'm really happy with how things have gone." 

 

February 17, 2016

North Broadway parcel cleared of buildings

02172016MLTbuildingdemoWhere a 140-year-old brick building once stood on North Broadway is now a hole in the ground.

Real estate investor Les Nelsonof Clear Lake, Iowa cleared away the former MLT Group building at 411 North Broadway this week.

In October, Nelson bought the building for $600,000 from Mike and Dawn Pruett. He also demolished two nearby empty buildings at 401 Broadway 08102015MLT2 and 407 Broadway last summer to make the area more attractive for developers. There's no word yet on what might happen there.

The Pruetts and partner Ted St. Mane have moved their businesses, MLT Group and MLT Video, to a 11,090-square-foot business condo in the Plaza 14 West center at 4481 North Frontage Road.

 

 

 

February 10, 2016

North Menards to grow a little bigger

After being open less than two years, Menards is planning a small expansion at its north Rochester store.

The 90,000-square-foot store opened in April 2014 near the intersection of U.S. 52 and 65th Street Northwest. Menards also has another Rochester store at 3000 S. Broadway.

5342bd12e28c4.imageNow, the Wisconsin-based home improvement retailer has filed permits for a small 12,914-square-foot garden center with a mezzanine area. The permit estimates the value of the project at $193,000.

The store already includes a garden center as well as a full-service lumber yard and an extensive array of tools and appliances.

A Menards representative didn't have a lot to say about this project, other than to describe it as "a few changes."

Presumably, the work on the expansion will start soon, to be ready for the spring garden season.

Menards built the store on 35 acres in 2014 to replace its previous north store at 5150 U.S. 52 North, which is smaller. Jim Sather and Mark Byer bought that building and moved their Furniture Superstore and America's Mattress stores into that building.

 

February 09, 2016

Rochester mortgage firm is on the move

A 13-year-old Rochester mortgage firm plans to move soon into its own digs after buying a northwest business condo.

TimthumbThe plan is for Premier Mortgage of Rochester to move to 3135 Superior Drive NW in the Badger Village Office Condos in early March, said owner Todd Satre. That's the former home of R!ah Hair Salon.

After leasing space in the Crossroads Shopping Center and in the Highlands on 19th Street since he opened in 2003, Satre said he felt it was time to buy a space of his own for his growing company. Remodeling work began on the 1,500-square-foot space this week.

"As we've grown with the market, we've outgrown the space we're in. It made sense to have more of a professional storefront of our own," he said.

Timthumb-1The new space is about double the size of Premier's current offices.

Mike Busch and Scott Hoss, of Rochester's Paramark Real Estate Services, handled the deal.

Satre describes Premier Mortgage as an independent "wholesale mortgage" company, which works with a number of banks to get the best deal possible for its home-buying or refinancing clients. 

Premier Mortgage has four employees on staff, but that could change soon.

"We're hoping to add some more loan officers in near future," he said.

February 03, 2016

Another hotel to be built near Costco

The final pieces of the Costco development in northwest Rochester are slated to be built this summer, starting with a new hotel.

A South Dakota-based developer, SD Rochester LLC, purchased land between the Comfort Inn and McDonald's along West Circle Drive from Northwest Investments of La Crosse for $1.45 million on Jan. 15.

Si_ms_slides_01According to city documents, the firm lead by Dan Henderson is planning to build an almost $6 million, three-story hotel under the dual brands of Sleep Inn and MainStay Suites. It will join two hotels — Comfort Inn and Staybridge Suites — built last year.

"They are a highly sophisticated group. I think this will be a good project," said Hans Zietlow, of Northwest Investments. "They got a pretty key piece of property."

Zietlow began carving the development out of a farm field for Northwest Investments in 2010. Northwest Investments is the real estate arm of Kwik Trip Inc. Zeitlow typically handles land planning for the Wisconsin convenience chain's stores, so this was not his usual type of project.
 
Starting it during a recession gave it a slow start, but a recovered economy plus a prominent anchor such as Costco has made it a hot property.

"Once or twice in your life, you have way more buyers than land to sell. Then you get to be picky about selling property," he said. "This is one of those times for me."

Beside the addition of the third hotel, a multi-tenant center also is slated to be built by Aldi this summer by a Twin Cities developer. There's no word yet on what retailers or restaurants it might house.

"I think that one will take off like a rocket," Zietlow said.

With the Costco development pretty much wrapped up, Northwest Investments is turning its attention to a nearby 50-acre property at West Circle Drive and Valleyhigh Drive. They have started the planning process to add roads and utilities into the area to prepare to sell lots, just as they did at the larger Costco property.

If things go as expected, construction could start there yet this year.

"There's a lot interest in that area, particularly since the new Hy-Vee opened," he said.

Zeitlow and Northwest Investments have driven a lot of change along Rochester's West Circle Drive area, and now more is one the way.

"Anyone looking for a place to build in Rochester now has to look at Northwest before they make a final decision of where they are going to go," Zietlow said. "That wasn't the case 10 years ago."