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1267 posts categorized "Construction news"

June 21, 2016

Macken starts construction on Byron expansion

After 107 years of being based solely in the Med City, the Macken family is adding its first funeral home outside of Rochester.

The Mackens, who own Rochester's Macken Funeral Home, are investing more than $2 million to build a new full-service facility in Byron to be called Byron Funeral Home and Cremation Services. Work started this week on the 8,000-square-foot building at 1620 Voll Drive NW at the intersection of U.S.14 West and 19th Avenue.

It will offer full funeral and visitation services as well as on-site cremation.

Rochester-MN-FuneralHome-1A public groundbreaking ceremony involving the Macken family and local leaders is scheduled for Thursday morning at the construction site. Mortician Peter Macken estimates the new facility could be completed and ready for use by October or November.

"We've been toying with this for years," he said. "We're really excited about this. Byron doesn't have a funeral home. We think Byron has a bright future and we'd like to be part of that."

Jay Czeczok, a longtime Macken employee and Byron resident, will manage the Byron Funeral Home when it opens. He will be supported by a team of on-site and Rochester employees.

Pete Macken says the family is pleased to have Weis Construction, CRW Architecture & Design Group Inc. and many other local sub-contractors involved in the project.

This expansion to Byron is the latest milestone in the funeral home's history.

Dan Macken launched what would become Macken Funeral Homes in Rochester in 1909. It now is led by the founder's grandsons, Tim and Dan Macken. Peter Macken is Tim Macken's son and the fourth generation of the family to work in the business.

One of the Mackens last expansions was in 2010, when it built a large chapel to add to its longtime Rochester campus at 1105 12th St. SE.

 

June 16, 2016

Rochester music school to expand

A local music school has really struck a chord in Rochester.

Ryan Utterback launched Pure Rock Studios in his home in 2012. When it swelled beyond that space, he moved it into a 2,500-square-foot building at 515 Rocky Creek Drive NE.

13417510_1017403615047508_8141035925918801272_nNow that he and his teachers are working with 250 to 270 students of all ages each week, the school needs even more space. That means more than doubling the size of the school to add a new wing for for the drum classes and a stage performance area as well as renovating the existing building.

"I knew it would get here, but it just has grown much faster than I anticipated," said Utterbeck. "That speaks volumes about our instructors and the curriculum that's really just built around a fun, hands on way to learn music."

He hopes work on the 3,000-square-foot expansion will start by mid-July, with the goal of opening the new wing by September.

Pure Rock has 14 instructors teaching group and one-on-one classes in guitar, bass guitar, drums, piano and vocal. Plus Utterbeck recently added banjo, mandolin and ukulele classes because of the growing popularity of those instruments.

The students range from youth to adults, with about 65 percent being younger than 18 years old.

Pure Roch's focus on performance has spurred the creation of many new bands formed by the students. Utterbeck also has his students perform regularly at local venues such as Thursday on First and Third and the Wicked Moose Bar & Grill.

"Music is a lifelong gift you can share with people," he said.

In fact, the architect and contractor working on the project are both musicians, who occasionally play at Pure Rock. Adam Ferrari of Rochester's 9.Square is the project architect as well as a drummer.

Adam Kramer of Kramer Contracting also is a musician who has played with Utterbeck since high school. Kramer recently launch his new construction business after work with Kraus Anderson Construction Co.

June 07, 2016

Broadway at Center development still awaiting financing

A long-anticipated downtown Rochester development, the first Destination Medical Center project, is still waiting for financing before can can begin.

Broadwayatcenter3City officials were notified recently by Hinshaw & Culbertson, a Minneapolis law firm, that a $102.5 million loan to finance the bulk of developer Gus Chafoulias' 23-story Broadway at Center tower was scheduled to close on May 31. A $2.3 million tax-increment financing loan was expected to close at the same time.

However, that didn't happen.

When asked Tuesday about the status of the financing and the timeline for the Broadway at Center project, Titan Development Marketing and Communications Manager Sheila Thoma made a statement via email. Titan is a Chafoulias family company.

"It has not closed. As soon as it does, I will let you know," she wrote

The loans are being made by Minneapolis-based Dougherty Financial Group, which includes seven financial companies that manage more than $42 billion in assets. The firm's founder and board chair, Michael E. Dougherty, is very familiar with Rochester and Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center initiative.
Dougherty joined the the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees in 2012. He then became a DMC Corp. board member in April.

While the loans and $6.5 million in assistance from the city of Rochester will finance the majority of the $140 million project, people close to the project say an additional $35 million is coming from Middle Eastern investors.

Chafoulias, with limited assistance from his son Andy Chafoulias and Titan, has been working on different versions of this project since 2007.

Broadway at Center will house a 264-room Hilton Hotel, 33 apartment units and space for office, retail and restaurant use. More than $14 million — including the city's $6.5 million assistance to the developer and the remainder of infrastructure costs — is planned to be reported as DMC local contributions and credited toward the city's $128 million commitment.

There has been a lot of interest about when demolition of the empty CJ's Midtown Lounge and other buildings on that corner would begin. Once the financing for the project is locked in, that should clear the way for work to start.

June 03, 2016

Forager spreading out into market space

After less than a year in operation, Rochester's popular Forager Brewing Co. gastropub is outgrowing its space.

The hipster-friendly beer, coffee and food place plans to take over space within its 1005 Sixth St. NW building that now houses the Kutzky Market retail area.

"We just need more room, so we're going to re-organize," said co-owner Annie Henderson.

Kutzky-market-logoThe plan is to close the 1,200-square-foot market area at the end of June and start moving beer-aging barrels into the space in July. Beside beer storage, the space will be used as a customer waiting area as well as a public art space with a small retail piece.

The market, which features many local handmade items and antiques, has eight vendor booths. 

"A lot of them already have new homes. Some are moving into the Dwell Local (store)," she said.

The shift also opens up room for Forager to host a local art galley and music performances.

"There will be a lot of new programing over there. After C4 (nonprofit Rochester art collective) closed, it has been tough for local artists to find free space for events," said Henderson. She previously served on the C4 board with her Forager co-owner, Sean Allen.

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. 
F89c28e7467b81cdb720c0c067eca5d3_f252
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."