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1279 posts categorized "Construction news"

September 08, 2016

Rochester 'Gold Rush' spurring bank, credit union branches

I'll have a full piece on this in the weekend paper. Here's a sample with some extra data.

At a time when many banks and credit union are seeing less people using branches, Rochester is in the midst of a mini-branch building boom.

In 2009, banks had U.S. 99,550 branches, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. By the end of 2015, that national number fell to 92,997.

09-01 2construction enRochester has 46 bank branches and five credit union branches. That's a bank or credit union branch for every 2,093 of Rochester's 106,769 residents.

Rochester is the bucking the national trend when it comes to branches. The easy answer to the question of why is the Med City's robust economic growth powered by Mayo Clinic makes it attractive for banks and credit unions.

However, each institution has their own ideas about branches.

• Altra Credit Union has purchased two parcels to build future branches.

• West Bank has a large branch under construction along West Circle Drive.

• Think Mutual Bank is building a new branch in northeast Rochester. 

• La Crosse, Wis.-based Coulee Bank is transforming the former Family Service Rochester building on Civic Center Drive into a branch.

Data from Minnesota Bankers Association

• For the record, Duluth has 35 bank branches. I don't know how many credit union branches. Duluth has a population of 86,277.

• Mankato has 28 bank branches. I don't know how many credit union branches. Mankato has a population of 39,396.

A national study found most bank chains in the U.S. reduced their number of branches in 2015.

• Wells Fargo - 6,272 branches down 39 from 2014

• US Bank - 3,209 branches down 35 from 2014

• Associated Bank - 224 branches down 13 from 2014.

 

 

August 30, 2016

Credit union pays $1.3M to join Rochester's 'Financial Row'

Rochester's West Circle Drive is rapidly becoming "Financial Row" as Altra Federal Credit Union plans to build a branch to join the ranks of the many banks on that stretch of road.

The La Crosse, Wis.-based credit union bought land on the open southwest corner at West Circle Drive and 19th Street Northwest for $1.35 million on Thursday. 

Cheryl Dutton, Altra's vice president of marketing, confirmed the credit union plans to build a full-service, 4,000- to 5,000-square-foot branch at the high-traffic intersection. It should employ an estimated eight to 10 employees.

Altra Credit Union"We're hopeful about breaking ground in early 2017. Then we hope to open the branch by fall of 2017," said Dutton.

This new spot will put Altra in the mix with Home Federal Savings Bank, Associated Bank, West Bank and US Bank. All of those banks have branches on or near that intersection. Think Mutual Bank and Olmsted National Bank also have major branches within a few miles of the intersection.

Altra opened its first Rochester branch in 2012 at 123 16th Ave. SW in the Shoppes on Second development. Then in later December 2015, the Wisconsin credit union spent $1.25 million to buy land in the Chateau Circle commercial development at 55th Street Northwest and Chateau Road.

Dutton says Altra still plans to build a branch there, though the West Circle Drive one will now be built first. The Chateau Circle branch probably will not break ground before 2019.

"We do plan to have multiple branches in Rochester," she said. "It's amazing how much faster than we expected that business in Rochester has grown."

Altra began in 1931 as the Trane Employees Credit Union. It has Minnesota branches in La Crescent and Winona as well as Rochester. Overall, it has 18 locations in eight states.

August 22, 2016

New coffee shop brewing on South Broadway

More caffeine is coming to Rochester's South Broadway.

Dennis and Lynn Wong have found a new place to open a third Rochester Dunn Bros. Coffee shop. The Wongs are leasing a 1,500-square-foot space in the 2550 South Broadway building in the Broadway Commons commercial area. That's the former home of Papa John's pizza, which closed at the start of June.

22082016newdunnbrosDennis Wong said the goal is to open the new coffee shop in October. It will have four full-time and eight part-time employees. The location will replace the downtown skyway Dunn Bros. shop, which closed earlier this month.

This shop will feature on-site coffee roasting, expresso beverages and a food menu, including fresh baked pastries, all-day breakfast sandwiches and box lunches with sandwiches and wraps. The Wongs also have Rochester Dunn Bros. shops at 120 Elton Hills Dr. NW and 1340 Salem Road SW.

Why this spot for a third location?

"It has good visibility, easy access off and on Broadway for dine-in or the new drive-thru window. It is convenient for south and southeast Rochester," he said.

Mike Haley, of Braasch Commercial Real Estate, handled the real estate deal.

This marks the return of coffee to the 14-year-old building. Soon after the building was completed, Doc's Coffee Co. opened on the end opposite Dunn Bros.' new space. It was followed in 2013 by the Sanus Bosnian Cafe and Grill, which served very strong Bosnian coffee.

August 15, 2016

Bleu Duck Kitchen taking reservations for Aug. 26

It looks like the 08152016bleuduckBleu Duck Kitchen is ready to fly in downtown Rochester.

I hobbled over to the almost completely renovated 115-year-old Conley-Maass building at 14 Fourth St. SW. this morning for the open house for the Collider business incubator on the second floor. 

I'll put up more about the Collider soon. But first, I thought I'd share that Chefs Erik Kleven and Erik Paulsen say that they are accepting reservations for Aug. 26 for the public opening of their Bleu Duck Kitchen on the main level of the building.

08152016bleuduckcounterConstruction on the 60-seat "New American Bistro"-style restaurant is mostly complete, though some fine-tuning of the private event space is still underway  in the back.

 

Front of the house staff showed up at the new eatery today to meet for the first time. 

Pro tip - the chefs say the tables in the front window space are already the most popular spots. So if you want one of those high-profile tables, make your reservations earlier.

 

Eye clinic moving into Kahler space

The eyes have it.

Rochester's Dr. Ty Huber has signed a lease to open a second location for his Huber Eyecare clinic in the Kahler Grand Hotel lobby, in the corner space that overlooks the Peace Plaza and was last occupied by the Revelation/Les Wigs Renee shop.

08152016kahlercorner"I'm sure it will be very successful. I'm not concerned at all about taking on such an expensive space," he said. Huber estimated that this new downtown location will cost about double the per-square-foot cost of his main clinic at Sienna Square, 711 Commerce Drive NW.

"I have a lot of customers who work downtown. This will make it easier for them to access Huber Eyecare," he said.

08152016kahlerinsidespaceHuber, who opened his first local office in 2007, expects his contractor, Todd Severson of TLS Cos., to start work on the space later this month. He hopes to be able to open 1,360-square-foot space in early October. He's hiring a second optometrist and two other employees for the new clinic.

Leasing that high-profile corner of the Kahler to an eye clinic is a change to the previous strategy that Kahler Hospitality Group discussed during the high-profile lawsuit to evict Renee Carlson's Revelation/Les Wigs Renee/Merle Norman Cosmetics. While Carlson won the case, she eventually moved her businesses out of the Kahler at the end of 2015. In June, she opened a store in Decorah, Iowa.

During the 2013 case, Javon Bea, the Oronoco businessman who leads the investment partnership in charge of Kahler Hospitality Group, testified that "the new owners thought it (the hotel lobby) was very hodge-podge ... Some functions in the lobby were destinations, not impulse services, and they didn't think those were appropriate to be in the lobby of the Kahler Grand Hotel."

When asked for comment last week, Bea forwarded questions about how Huber Eye Care fits with that strategy to KHG's Chief Financial Officer Leslie Hohmann.

"I feel that Huber Optical is going to a good addition providing patient care support directly across from Mayo and the front of the Kahler Grand," Hohmann said in an email. "We expect that the optical business will be very neat and clean right next to the main entry to the Kahler Grand. While impulse businesses work well in many spots, they are often food-related and carry debris and smells that we did not feel were appropriate for the entry to the Kahler."

 

August 05, 2016

Longtime Rochester printer is on the move

After 30 years in the same location, a Rochester printing company is planning to move to a new home.

Paper & Graphics Inc., a division of Smyth Cos., has a new 15,000-square-foot office under construction at Suite 400 of the Sienna Squarecommercial building, at 2711 Commerce Dr. NW, according to Smyth owner and director Bill Hickey.

"We're hoping to be in there in September," he said. "We think there will be a lot of good exposure there. It will be a fresh, new place organized to fit our needs."

6a00d83451cc8269e201b8d175fbac970c-200wiThe new office along West Circle Drive will put the printer right in the middle of a booming commercial area.

Paper & Graphics long has been based at 1116 Ninth Street NE in a building owned by the business' owners, Tim and Steve Fields. The Fields sold the commercial printing firm to St. Paul-based Smyth in 2015.

The Rochester location has a staff of four, but that is supplemented from Smyth's Austin operations as needed. Hickey says the new office will be large enough to add more staff in Rochester as well as new machinery.

Paper & Graphics specializes in general commercial printing, such as stationary, brochures, booklets, posters, cards and other items.

This move will strengthen Smyth's footprint in southeastern Minnesota. The 138-year-old firm has been printing in Austin, since 1971. Smyth expanded in Austin in 2007, when it built a new 30,800-square-foot facility in the Cook Farm Industrial Park and expanded its other site there. Among other contracts, Smyth prints labels for Hormel Foods in Austin.

Smyth also has locations in Minneapolis, Virginia, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Colorado.

 

August 04, 2016

Name of new complex revealed as Flats on Fourth

The Buckeye is out, as is Ovation.

The name of the new 92-unit apartment and retail complex being built on the corner of Fourth Street and Third Avenue Southeast in downtown Rochester has fluctuated during the planning phase. 

F89c28e7467b81cdb720c0c067eca5d3_f252Now that a major hole has been dug across from the Olmsted County Government Center and Rochester City Hall, the developer unveiled the official name for the $15 million project.

Nate Stencil, of Stencil Homes, confirmed Wednesday it is now called Flats on Fourth. The South Dakota developer is driving the project with his partner, Sean A. Kaufhold.

The new name was announced this morning during a public event organized by the Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency, according to Stencil.

The name was a minor issue in the neighborhood, because some people objected to having it called The Buckeye. The complex is being built on the corner where the longtime Buckeye Liquor store once stood. The store since has moved a little farther south down Third Avenue.

As the project progressed through the early planning stages, the project name was changed to Ovation on Stencil's website. However, it turns out that was just a possible name that was ultimately rejected.

Now, when this complex opens next summer, the name over the door will be Flats on Fourth. 

While they haven't started marketing the space, Stencil says there already has been interest in the ground level retail space in the complex.

"We've had some inquiries on the retail end, but not from the kind of retail we are looking for. We're looking for very specific tenants that will be a good fit for that area," he said.

Stencil recently built and opened two other apartment complexes, Nue52 and Kascade Place. Both are near Rochester's 65th Street Northwest interchange across U.S. 52 from the North Menards store. 

Another Rochester apartment project by Stencil, The Pines, still is under construction. Once Flats on Fourth and The Pines open, Stencil will own 463 apartments in Rochester. 

 

August 03, 2016

$5 million renovation on way for Rochester apartment complex

IMG_0128A Rochester development group led by Andy Chafoulias purchased the Northgate Plaza apartment complex at 902 11th Ave. NW last week for $7.6 million. The New Northgate Plaza Limited Partnership group bought it from a group led by Gus Chafoulias, Andy's father.

Now that the sale is done. the younger Chafoulias is planning a major renovation of the 37-year-old complex estimated at $5.2 million.

Northgate Plaza offers 151 units for seniors and people with disabilities.

I'll have a more detailed piece on this soon.

 

July 22, 2016

New leader to take reins at Stewartville's Geotek

One of Stewartville's largest employers will have a new CEO at the helm.

Geotek, which makes fiberglass products for the electric utility and fence markets, has named Ben Wiltsie its new chief executive officer. Wiltsie will replace Dale Nordquist, who is stepping down after six years and will become chairman of the board. 

Wiltsie, who was chosen after a comprehensive succession planning process and a yearlong search, will start work on Aug. 1. He previously served as the director of marketing and business Development for Winona-based RTP Co.

Slide6Nordquist will replace Pat Mitchell, who is retiring, as chairman of the board.

Geotek, which employs about 150 people, has more than doubled its facilities and increased its revenue by 120 percent during Nordquist's tenure as CEO.

It is considered the market leader in its niche of pultrusion fiberglass products for the electrical utilities and for agriculture fencing. The utilities industry's use of fiberglass arms over wood or metal is growing, and demand is expected to continue to grow.

The fiberglass product manufacturer built a new 41,674-square-foot facility next to its existing 54,000-square-foot plant in 2011.

In 2016, Geotek won the Best Place to Work Award from the Southeast Minnesota Workforce Development Board.

Conrad F. Fingerson and Amy L. Donahoe originally launched Geotek in 1991 in Rushford. They moved it to Stewartville in 1994. In 2009, they sold it to St. Cloud-based Granite Equity Partners.

In 2010, Norquist was brought on as president and CEO. He previously served in the same role for well-known southeastern Minnesota manufacturer Zareba Systems.

July 12, 2016

Civic Inn = The Parker

07122016theparker 6a00d83451cc8269e2011570b90dd1970b-800wiThe new sign is up across from the Post-Bulletin for The Parker, the transformed Civic Inn.

The 96-year-old building at 101 East Center St. has been transformed and upgraded in the past few months.

A grand opening for the "dorm-style" complex with 62 units is slated for Friday.