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1199 posts categorized "Construction news"

October 29, 2014

New downtown Rochester fitness studio warming up for opening

A new fitness studio is gearing up to open in downtown Rochester before the holiday feasting begins.

Sarah Pacchetti's Studio on Third is all set to open on Monday at 18 Third Ave. S.W. in the basement of the Merchant Exchange Building.  The 1,000-square-foot fitness center is tucked in next to The Doggery cocktail bar.

10282014studioonthirdThe studio offers hip hop, Barre, Piloxing, Zumba and yoga classes for Rochester folks as well as visitors staying in downtown hotels.

"I've been playing with this idea for years. I wanted to open a place that would be fun and empower others," she said in July, when she announced her plans for the studio.

Pacchetti is a certified instructor previously taught classes at Mayo Clinic's Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center. She has a team of nine instructors or as she calls them "inspire-ers." That team includes a couple of names that are familiar to the Rochester business community, Jess Irhke and Sara Pennington.

Sarah, with her husband John Pacchetti, bought half ownership of the basement level of the Merchants Exchange Building in June. The Pacchettis co-own the space with Scott Hoss, who also handles the leasing as an agent of Rochester's Paramark Real Estate Services.

The Pacchettis also own the Rochester-based Home Instead senior care operation that serves southeastern Minnesota.

October 20, 2014

Kahler's Grand Grill to get a facelift during closure

The Kahler Grand Hotel's Grand Grill has a grand makeover on a way, though it will mean being closed for construction over the holidays.

10202014grandgrilloutsideThe restaurant on the main level of the prominent downtown hotel expected to be closed to undergo an extensive $410,000 renovation on Dec. 19 through Jan. 4.

Cherylanne Thomas, Kahler Hospitality Group's managing director of marketing and sales, says the restaurant will get a major upgrade, inside and out.

"We chose to do it then, since that's our slowest time of the year," she said. 10202014grandgrillinside

While Grand Grill is closed, its 10 full-time and 24 part-time employees can choose to use their vacation time or apply for unemployment for that period.

Thomas also dismissed widespread local rumors that a more extensive holiday closure might be coming for the Kahler hotels.

"It will be business as usual at our hotels," she said.

The only other major project during the holidays will be what Thomas describes as "a deep cleaning" of the Kahler Inn & Suites, though that hotel and its restaurant, Crossings, will remain open.

The Kahler Hospitality Group owns the Kahler Grand Hotel, the Kahler Inn & Suites, the Marriott Rochester, the Residence Inn and the Textile Care Services industrial laundry. The group of investors bought the hotels for $230 million in 2012. Javon Bea, of Oronoco, is the well known public face of the organization.

Kahler Hospitality also recently signed an agreement to handle management of the Ramada Hotel & Conference Center at 1517 16th St. S.W. Dan and Terri Penz own that hotel.

October 13, 2014

New biotech office launches in Rochester

This one seems to have a lot of local momentum behind it.

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The health care technology arm of a Sri Lanka-based company is officially launching its Rochester office on Tuesday morning.

Brandix i310132014brandixoffice is hosting a grand opening in the morning of its 2,000-square-foot office on the skyway level of Minnesota BioBusiness Center at 221 First Ave. S.W.

The software development firm has been working out of a spot in the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator, since early summer. The business accelerator is located on the same floor of the Biobusiness Center as Brandix's new office.

Aaron Epps, Brandix's associate vice president of health care, said earlier this year that office would launch with six employees, though he expects it to grow to 12 by the end of the year

"We want to be part of the Destination Medical Center project," he said. "We're looking to expand quickly. We're a start-up, but we're a start-up with the backing of a large 10132014brandixskywaysigncompany."

Brandix's focus is to work with its local partner, Rochester-based Ambient Clinical Analytics. Ambient makes "real-time decision support tools" for doctors and nurses working in the ICU, operating room or emergency departments.

Mayo Clinic launched Ambient in 2013, and it named Al Berning as CEO. Berning is known in Rochester as a former IBMer, a co-founder of Pemstar and former CEO of Hardcore Computers/LiquidCool Solutions. Ambient's management team includes other local business leaders, like former long-time IBM executives Drew Flaada and Deb Sutherland.

Brandix has a three-year lease with the City of Rochester. It pays $20 per rentable foot
is In addition to the leasing the 2,000-square-feet, Brandix's lease promises "first right of refusal" for the other 2,000 square feet of adjacent vacant space to the west.

The city gave Brandix "a one-time fit-up allowance" of $10 per square foot, or $20,000, to build out its offices.

October 10, 2014

Kane and Johnson Architects merges with WSN

Kane and Johnson Architects, a small firm with a 63-year history in Rochester and Austin, is joining forces with a larger Minnesota company.

The five-person office merged Oct. 1 with Crookston-based Widseth Smith Nolting, an engineering and planning company. The Kane and Johnson team has joined WSN's Rochester office at 6301 Bandel Road N.W.

"I selected the firm I most respect and feel will best serve my clients," said David Kane about the "evolution" of the business that his father Warren Kane founded in 1951 in Austin. "They have a very similar culture, which makes this a comfortable change."FrmReadMail_Attachment-1

WSN has been in discussions with Kane and Johnson about merging, since March.

The two firms have competed for as well as worked together on many Minnesota and Iowa projects over the years. Recently, they've been working on what they describe as "their signature collaboration," the seven-story Bridge Plaza in Mankato. Work is expected to start on that mixed-use complex in 2015.

WSN has seven offices and 195 employees in Minnesota and North Dakota. It has always specialized in working in the smaller, non-metro communities since it was founded in 1975, said Joe Breiter, WSN's director of business developmenFrmReadMail_Attachment-3t. It has long working relationships with companies like Brainerd-based Mills Fleet Farm and Bremer Bank.

“WSN recognizes Rochester as a market that continues to experience significant growth. Bringing in KJA adds dimension to our experience and deepens our capacity to serve both firms’ existing and prospective clients,” stated WSN president Kevin Donnay in the announcement of the merger.

The Crookston firm has been interested in Rochester for some time. It merged with QED Engineering, a 20-year-old Rochester firm, in 2009. Since then, its Med City office has grown steadily to a staff of about 20 with the addition of Kane and Johnson.

FrmReadMail_Attachment-2"Rochester is the largest community where we have an office. We're seeing a lot growth here," said Brian Carlson, who joined WSN's local office earlier this year. He added that WSN has many "significant" projects in the pipeline for the area.

Kane, who will remain on with WSN, said this deal made excellent sense as the next step for his evolving business that has adapted many times over the years.

He has led the firm since he was 24. Kane started working there in 1974 and then was forced to lead the business a year later when his father suddenly died. He expanded the practice into Rochester in 1988 by acquiring Pieper Richmond Architects. In 1993, Kane sold the Austin practice in 1993 to his partner.

Over the years, Kane's small firm has lead the way in many areas. It was one of the first firms to begin offering asbestos removal in Minnesota and handled many large abatement projects throughout the Midwest. It was also an early innovator in the area of handicapped accessibility dating back to 1976, well before the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The firm has worked on such high profile projects, such as Olmsted National Banks' headquarters at 975 34th Ave. N.W., Timothy Chapel at Rochester's Autumn Ridge Church, the Steele County History Center and renovation of the Winona County Courthouse.

"Now with the additional resources of WSN, we'll be able to do even more," said Kane. "The financial reality is that it's tough to compete as a small, private practice."

October 07, 2014

OMC expanding its administration offices on Third Avenue

Olmsted Medical Center is expanding its footprint in a Third Avenue office building to house much of its administration staff.

Since 2013, OMC has been leasing 4,200 square feet of office space in the SEH-Yaggy building at 717 Third Ave. S.E., which is near its Southeast Clinic. About 20 senior administrators are based there, said Jeremy Salucka, OMC's communications coordinator.

SEH YaggyNow OMC has launched a construction project to expand its presence within that complex to about 15,000 square feet of office space.

"We're more than tripling the space we have there," said Salucka.

The plan is to eventually move administration staffers currently working in other leased offices into the Third Avenue building to consolidate many of OMC's non-clinical departments, he said. It will  also create much needed conference room space.

"This will help us reduce overhead and bring teams together under one roof," he said.

The exact number of workers that will join the 20 already in the building has not been determined yet. It could possibly double up to 40 people, according to rough ballpark estimate by Salucka.

The project is expected to be completed sometime in January.

CRW Architecture-Design Group moved its team of 10 people out of the building at the end of September. The firm had been based in there, since it spun off from what was previously known as Yaggy-Colby Associates in 2010.

CRW has a new office building plus four apartments under construction at 11th Avenue and Second St. N.W. It is hoped to be completed yet this fall.

September 23, 2014

Paint store, coffee/bagel shop may be coming to N.W. Rochester

If a few final details can be hammered out, a Sherwin-Williams paint store and combination Dunn Bros Coffee/Bruegger's Bagels shop could be coming for northwest Rochester.

TJL Development of St. Paul is planning to build a 4,000-square-foot building for Sherwin-Williams and a 2,500-square-foot building for the co-branded Dunn Bros/Bruegger's. They are slated for a parcel near Kwik Trip and Costco in the 108-acre commercial development at 19th Street and West Circle Drive. The development plans include other businesses, such as McDonald's, two hotels, an Aldi's grocery store and an Associated Bank branch.

This is not TJL's first foray into Rochester. It built a 4,000-square-foot paint store in 2013 for Sherwin-Williams in south Rochester, in front of the south ShopKo and Menards stores. That store replaced Sherwin-Williams' former south store, which was located in the defunct Rochester Market Square, which later became Rochester Public School's Alternative Learning Center.

If the northwest project moves ahead as planned, it is expected to replace Sherwin-Williams' current location at 19 Seventh St. N.E.

While TJL Principal Jim Lavalle says there are some aspects of the project that still need to be finalized, the company is moving ahead and has filed building plans with the City of Rochester.

"We're hopeful to start construction yet this fall," he said.

September 18, 2014

H3 Plaza's 1st tenant to move in during Dec.

The first tenant is expected to move into downtown Rochester's latest office building development in December, though the entire seven-story complex is not expected to be completed until the spring.

Titan Development and Investments, of Rochester, is building the $17 million building now called H3 Plaza at 300 S. Broadway. Construction began in March, when Titan demolished the former C.O. Brown building that previously stood on the site. H3 is a reference to Rochester's Historic Third Street, which is directly across Broadway from the building.

541ae78d4ef07.imageTitan will be the building's first tenant, with plans to fill the sixth floor with its offices in December. Titan, led by Andy and Gus Chafoulias, has about 25 employees working out of the Minnesota Biobusiness Center on First Avenue Southwest.

"We'll have it ready by then," said Joe Fort, project supervisor for Weis Builders, last week, as he stood inside the bare beams on the sixth floor and a crew of about 45 of his workers and local subcontractors worked around him. Fort expects to have the building enclosed and weather-tight before the full force of winter hits. That will allow them to work through the colder months to complete the first through fifth floors.

All but 6,000 square feet of the 43,000-square-foot building is already leased to local tenants, said Titan marketing and communications manager Shelia Thoma. That available space is divided between the second and third floors of the H3 Plaza.

The Nova Restaurant Group, which is led by Scott Foster and Pat Woodring, will fill the street level with an authentic Italian eatery as well as a rooftop patio bar and grill on the seventh floor. The rooftop patio will tower over Rochester's two nearby roof bars, Kathy's Pub and The Tap House.

Foster and Woodring have worked with Gus Chafoulias in the past, when they opened Chester's Kitchen & Bar in his Shops at University Square building in 2008 and Pescara in his DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in 2009. They haven't named the H3 restaurants yet, though they do hope to open the Italian place in the spring.

Sept.2014H3rooftopSide-by side elevators will take people to the rooftop patio, even when the businesses in the building are closed. H3 Plaza will be connected to the adjacent City Centre complex and the Holiday Inn skyway.

Med City Dental and Dunlap & Seeger law firm, two businesses being displaced from the Associated Bank Building at 206 S. Broadway, have leased space in the H3 Plaza. The dental office, owned by Dr. Fred Carlson, will be located on the second floor, and the law firm, Rochester's largest, will occupy half of the third floor and all of the fourth and fifth floors.

Developer Bloom International Realty of Abu Dhabi plans to demolish the Associated Bank building in 2015 and possibly build a high-end hotel.

Andy Chafoulias originally envisioned developing the H3 Plaza site as a three-story restaurant and entertainment venue in 2013. That plan evolved as information about Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center initiative came out, along with the re-development plans for the Associated Bank building.

The Rochester City Council approved a special redevelopment tax-increment-financing district to raise $300,000 for Titan to cover the asbestos removal and demolition of the former C.O. Brown building. The council also prematurely labeled the H3 development as a DMC project.
 
Assistant City Administrator Gary Neumann said that since the DMC Corp. board of directors needs to approve any project before the start of construction, the H3 development doesn't qualify. However, the council's order states that any leftover money from the tax increment financing for the project could rollover to any nearby approved DMC projects, such as the anticipated update of Historic Third Street.

The pay-as-you-go TIF essentially reimburses the annual taxes the developers will pay, once the project is complete. The earliest Titan could see a payment was estimated at 2016.

Another, much larger, Titan development planned for the corner of South Broadway and East Center Street could possibly qualify as a DMC project. Spearheaded by Gus Chafoulias, the preliminary plan presented to the City Planning and Zoning Commission in March showed a 24-story, mixed-used complex featuring retail and restaurants, a 184-unit Embassy Suites Hotel on 11 floors, 84 apartments on six floors and underground parking. It was called Broadway at Center at that point.

Thoma said that project, which now is called The Legacy, is undergoing changes.

"A redesign with the hotel plans is the reason we are still in the design phase," she said.

September 04, 2014

Pending real estate deal spurs flower shop move

Flowers By Jerry will soon move its Third Avenue shop because a pending real estate deal could change scenery on the high-profile Rochester corner.

04092014flowersbyjerrybuckeyeOwner Kevin Patton says the sale of his building at 410 Third Ave. S.E. is in the works along with the adjacent Buckeye Liquor building, which he also owns. Robert and Diane Satterwhite own Buckeye and lease the building from Patton.

Patton is shifting his business offices and the floral design from the Third Street shop to Flowers By Jerry's other location by Silver Lake. That change could happen by the end of this month.

"We're consolidating that part of the business, but we're also branching out," said Patton said.

Patton is opening another store, Flowers By Jerry Lux Floral Boutique, in the TJ Maxx Plaza in southwest Rochester to replace the Third Street location. As the different name would suggest, this new location will be a new take of the standard flower shop.

Patton describes it as mix of a floral store with a women's clothing boutique with clothing, jewelery and home decor.

The floral boutique will be located just outside the entrance of TJ Maxx. Flowers By Jerry will move into the 2,500-square-foot space left open by Fox Nails' recent move to a new spot on the other side of the atrium.

If everything goes as planned, it's expected to be ready to open by the start of November, if not sooner. With all of the changes, Patton anticipates he may eventually need to add a new part-time position or two to his current staff of about 20.

While all of these plans are moving forward, details about what will happen on the corner of Third Avenue and Fourth Street are scarce at this point. The sale of the Flowers By Jerry and Buckeye Liquors buildings could close by the end of this month. However, Patton isn't discussing the buyer or any other details until it officially wraps up.

Given that corner's proximity to downtown and the Olmsted County Government/Rochester City Hall, some are speculating that the purchase of those two buildings is a sign that a developer wants to build a new commercial center, restaurant or hotel.

New Scheels store shaping up

Lots of activity at the new Scheels All Sports mega-store site at Rochester's Apache Mall this balmy "fall" morning.

04092014scheelsConstruction and partial demolition of the former Sears store site has been rolling along all through the summer on this new sprawling addition to the Med City's sporting goods offering.

Fargo, N.D.-based Scheels estimates that it will be ready to open in early April 2015. The planned 140,000-square foot store will be larger than the 120,000-square-foot Scheels in Mankato.

It is expected to add between 120 to 180 new jobs toScheelsmap2 Rochester.

In addition to sporting goods, its features will include a fudge and coffee bar and a mini bowling alley.

The development for the expanded store also includes Apache Mall adding 9,000-square-foot restaurant site on the east side of the city water tower. 

There's no word yet on what restaurant might be planned for that site.

August 21, 2014

Homewood Suites construction rolling along

08212014homewoodsuitesEven though the skies are stormy, it's clear sailing on the construction on the new 108-room, six-story Homewood Suites extended stay hotel near Saint Marys Hospital.

Rochester's Carpenter family and Torgerson Properties, of Willmar, are building the Homewood hotel next door to their Courtyard by Marriott hotel. They also own SpringHill Suites.

Work on this project started a year ago. Dennis Wallenta, vice president of hotel operations for Torgerson Properties, says construction is on track for the hotel to open this fall, possibly in November.