News Business Sports Entertainment Life Obituaries Opinion
Jobs Homes Cars Classifieds Shopping

Search PB Blogs

Loading

Categories

680 posts categorized "Current Affairs"

April 12, 2016

Mayo Clinic sells 4 lots for $720,000

Everyone knows lots of properties are selling in Rochester, though, in many cases, only the buyers know what is coming next.

Saint-marys-8colMayo Clinic sold three open lots plus one with a 97-year-old house in southwest Rochester for $720,000 on the final day of March.

The four parcels are on 14th Avenue Southwest, which runs along the west side of Saint Marys Hospital. Olmsted County estimates the total value of the real estate at $140,000.

Here's what Mayo Clinic had to say about the deal.

"We did sell four parcels recently (313, 317, 323 and 327 14th Ave, SW) to '1406 Second Street Associates.' You will need to contact the buyer’s representatives for any additional info/comment on their plans for the parcels," wrote Ginger Plumbo, of Mayo Clinic Communications, in an email response to questions.

Rochester developer Nick Pompeian, who owns the Brentwood on 2nd and Ray-Mar hotels at the corner of 14th Avenue Southwest and Second Street, is a representative of the local investors behind 1406 Second Street Associates.

He confirmed the purchase Monday, but couldn't discuss any future plans for the new property.

However, the real estate does seem to support the longtime buzz that a major redevelopment is coming for that ever-so popular block. 

As Destination Medical Center very slowly ramps up, the prospect of sitting in the shadow of Mayo Clinic's busy hospital has a lot of people eagerly putting together potential deals.

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.

 

March 29, 2016

Downtown #rochmn liquor store to move to new home

After about a year in the Shops at University Square shopping center, City Wines and Spirits is moving to a new downtown Rochester home as well as taking on a new name.

City-wines-and-spiritsCity Wines and Spirits is tucked away on the mall's first floor between Lenscrafters and the former Michaels Restaurant. Now the shop that bills itself as "Rochester's Only Downtown Wine, Beer and Liquor Store" is planning to move across Broadway to the lobby of the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, according to Sheila Thoma.

The liquor store is slated to move into the retail space at the corner of Broadway and Second Street Southeast. It was last occupied by Deb Frederick's Tableside Manor gift shop, which has moved to another downtown spot.

"We are looking forward to this new location with it being right on the street and in the hotel. We are waiting to solidify a couple last steps. If all does go as intended, we plan to open early April," Thoma said via email on Monday.

Thomas is the marketing director for Titan Development & Investments, which owns University Square, the Doubletree Hotel as well as City Wines. Titan also owns Andy's Liquor, which has four Rochester locations.

As part of the move, Thoma says the store is "rebranding as Andy’s Liquor Downtown."

That will bring the number of Andy's stores in Rochester up to five.

 

March 24, 2016

Eastwood Plaza expansion set to open in June

After many months of on again, off again construction, it sounds like a new southeast Rochester commercial center could be ready for business soon.

Construction of a 5,040-square-foot retail building began last summer in front of the Eastwood Plaza at 1513 12 St. S.E. A variety of issues, including an easement dispute, have slowed the progress of the project.

EastgateplazaBut that is all in the past now, according to Ari Kolas. Kolas is one of the owners of Eastwood Plaza under the name of Athena 2004 LLC. He also is an owner of Rochester-based Apollo Wine & Spirits, which has one of its six Rochester stores based in Eastwood Plaza. It also has a franchised store in the Shoppes on Maine development in the southwest quadrant and a store in Austin.

"It should be done sometime in early June," he said.

The new building has three retail spots, two of which already are leased. When completed, Cricket Wireless and Little Caesars Pizza are slated to move in and open for business.

The third space, which includes a drive-up window, still is available, according to Kolas. He is hoping to find a food establishment of some sort as a tenant.

This Eastwood project is one that Kolas has been thinking about for a long time.

"I always wanted to do something on the outlot. I was just waiting for the proper opportunity to do it. The climate is good for it now with the growth of Rochester," he said previously. "It's been in the back of my head forever. It's got awesome visibility."

Kolas is enthusiastic about the intersection of 12th Street Southeast and Marion Road, which Athena 2004 bought for $1.6 million in 2004.

"It's a great corner that people forget about. It really is a great neighborhood," he said. — Jeff Kiger

 

March 23, 2016

New Rochester firm is cleaning up, naturally

Luis and Rosalinda Campos are cleaning up Rochester, naturally.

The Camposes launched a new residential and commercial cleaning firm called Organic Home Cleaning Service in early March. As the name suggests, Organic Home Cleaning does not use any chemicals.

62799fd08508149ca0d6ec5f148fb69b"The stuff we use won't harm you, your children or your pets. It's all natural," explained Luis Campos. "People are loving the organic cleaning products. They are more heavy duty and do a better job than chemicals. We guarantee the results."

Despite the extra expensive of the organic products, Campos says his firm offers rates that are comparable to other local janitorial services.

The choice to use only natural products stems from a close call with the Campos' young son. The toddler opened a bottle of bleach and was close to drinking it, when he was stopped. They removed all harsh cleaning chemicals from the house and soon found the natural products cleaned at least as well as the harmful ones.

Luis Campos comes to the cleaning industry from a career working in Rochester restaurants. While he enjoyed that, launching his own business gives him something the other couldn't provide — more time with his family. 

All of Organic Home Cleaning's staff of six are direct family members.

The new business also allows Campos and his family a chance to give 10 percent of their profits back to the community through their favorite Rochester non-profit, Conquerors Boxing. Conquerors works with at-risk youth through boxing and mentorship

March 09, 2016

Customers celebrate return of Indian cuisine downtown

The return of Indian cuisine to downtown Rochester has some fans celebrating.

"Some customers were so happy to see Indian food again that they were just dancing around in circles," said Anuradha Dhumne of the opening of Blue Diamond Indian Cuisine in the First Avenue Food Court in Rochester's downtown skyway.

Anuradha and her husband, Anil Dhumne, launched Blue Diamond on Monday in a food-court spot last occupied by Azteca Mexican restaurant. 

08032016bluediamond"We serve authentic Indian food, sometimes with a twist," said Anuradha Dhumne.

In addition to traditional Indian meat entrees, they have a wide variety of vegetarian dishes for people looking for that option. The menu includes favorites of Indian cuisine such as tandoori chicken, curries, kabobs, samosas and fresh naan bread.

Blue Diamond has three on staff, including Anuradha Dhumne.

"There's a lot of interest. There's a gap here that we are filling," said Anil Dhumne. "People are finding our food is a festival of taste and flavor on your tongue."

Blue Diamond is settling in this week. The Dhumnes plan to ramp things up soon by offering a morning breakfast next week, an afternoon "snack" of tea and samosas and catering services.

They have been looking for a spot to open for about a year. Some people might remember the Blue Diamond booth at area farmer's markets and festivals.

"This has long been her dream," Anil said. "Location is key. I think we got a good spot." 

March 08, 2016

Old Country Buffet closes in Rochester

Rochester's Old Country Buffet has served its final serving of mashed potatoes and gravy.

Officials the chain's parent company, Ovation Brands, confirmed Tuesday morning that the Rochester location is closed for good.

20160308_081044This is despite signs on the door stating that the restaurant at 1300 Salem Road SW is closed for "an asset inventory." Employees said on Monday that they had been told that after the "asset inventory" that the restaurant would re-open on Wednesday.

The sign on the front door states an employee meeting is scheduled for this afternoon. Presumably, details about the closing will be shared then.

This closing is just one of many for the Greer, South Carolina-based Ovation Brand, which is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the third time in eight years. In February, the company closed about 30 percent of its various 243 brand restaurants. It also operates HomeTown Buffet and Ryan’s.

OCB recently closed its restaurants in Maple Grove, Coon Rapids and St. Cloud, along with Rochester. The only two Minnesota restaurants now listed on OCB's website are Burnsville and Mankato.

Old Country Buffet got its start in Minnesota in 1983 and as recently as 2008 had 626 stores, before declaring bankruptcy twice. In 2014, the corporate office in Eagan had about 125 employees.

March 03, 2016

Sports Authority to hit the showers

It's official.

SportsauthoritylistSports Authority is closing its Rochester location as well as 139 other stores as part of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.


Rochester employees began telling customers last week that the 33,000-square-foot store at 80 25th St. SE would be closing soon. On Wednesday, the Englewood, Colo.-based company filed for bankruptcy.


As part of that filing, it submitted a list of 140 stores that it will be closing or selling within the next three months. The sporting goods retailer has 463 stores in 41 states and Puerto Rico.

Rochester's Sports Authority has been open in the Broadway Commons commercial center since 2001. 56cc794c4ca4b.image

"We are taking this action so that we can continue to adapt our business to meet the changing dynamics in the retail industry," CEO Michael Foss said in a written statement. The executive said that it needs fewer stores, as consumers are increasingly shifting to online shopping.

Sports Authority stores will remain open and run on normal schedules during the Chapter 11 process. The company's website will continue to function, and the chain plans to honor warranties on items purchased at its stores or online.

In a letter to customers posted on the company's website, Foss said that Sports Authority's long-term plan includes upgrading stores and improving its website.

Foss said that The Sports Authority Inc., which is privately-held, has received interest from third parties that may want to invest in or buy some or all of the business. The company plans to continue evaluating all of its options, he added.

Sports Authority said that it expects to have sufficient liquidity during the Chapter 11 process when factoring in cash from operations and anticipated access to up to $595 million in debtor-in-possession financing.

In 2014, Sports Authority ranked fourth with $3.4 billion in revenue among U.S. sporting goods chains. Dick's is the leader with with 603 stores nationwide, including one in Rochester,  and $6.5 billion in revenue. Academy Sports ranked second and Bass Pro Shop came in third.

Sports Authority has 470 stores, according to Statista. According to a Moody's research note, Sports Authority reported more than $2.6 billion in revenue for the 12-month period that ended in October.

The Broadway Commons center, which also features Kohl's, changed hands in January, when Austin, Texas-based EREP Broadway Commons bought the 131,931-square-foot retail complex for $14.5 million. They bought it from Inland Private Capital Program, of Oak Brook, Ill.

The 15-year-old shopping center was appraised at $15 million, according to state documents. Inland originally acquired the property in 2002 for $16 million. Olmsted County estimated its 2016 market value at $11.23 million.

It originally was built by Wisconsin-based Continental Properties in 2001.

Indian cuisine on way to downtown food court

IMG_0362It looks like a new Indian cuisine place will soon start cooking in the First Avenue Food Court in Rochester's downtown skyway.

The sign recently went up for Blue Diamond Indian Cuisine in front of the vendor spot last occupied by Mexican eatery.

I haven't talked to them yet, but I pretty sure Blue Diamond is vendor some people might remember from summer events at the Squash Blossom Farm in Douglas.

I should have more on this soon.