It looks like the days of the former C.O Brown downtown building at 300 S. Broadway have finally come to an end.
The long-time Rochester insurance firm moved out of downtown in 2008 as developer Joe Weis began construction of the adjacent City Centre complex.
Now developer Andy Chafoulias is working on a plan to build a six-story building called The Plaza on Historic 3rd on that site. Of course, that means the bell is tolling for the long-empty shell of the ex-insurance office.
Here's a little reverse retrospective on that site. The photos go back in time, though the final image is the rendering of what The Plaza is slated to look like.
Titan Development and Investments, led by father-and-son developers Gus and Andy Chafoulias, have been working on plans for the project for quite a while.
Those plans have been evolving during the past few months, particularly after news broke that the nearby seven-story Associated Bank Building will be demolished and re-developed. That move means many downtown commercial tenants are being displaced.
“Once we made our initial announcement last year, the interest in the project continued to grow well beyond our expectations,” Titan CEO Andy Chafoulias said. "That interest materialized into an opportunity to create a project that we feel will be a prominent piece of downtown Rochester and Historic Third Street for many years to come.”
Two tenants moving out of the Associated Bank Building — Dunlap & Seeger and MedCity Dental — already have signed up for space in The Plaza. Titan Development plans to move its offices there from the Minnesota BioBusiness Center on First Avenue Southwest. Those are the only confirmed tenants so far.
"We do expect by end of month to have it 100 percent leased," said John Beltz, Titan's vice president of brand management and revenue development.
While it has seen significant changes, the latest version of the Titan project still includes the restaurant on the street level and the roof-top lounge/bar that were in the original vision. Restaurateurs Pat Woodring and Scott Foster, the minds behind Chester's Kitchen & Bar and Pescara, are still slated to create, own and manage those operations. Woodring and Foster have worked with the Chafoulias family for many years.
In September, the Rochester Economic Development Agency approved a special redevelopment tax-increment-financing district to raise $300,000 to cover asbestos removal and demolition of the former C.O. Brown building.
The project was earmarked by the Rochester City Council in September to be included in the $2 billion in private investment promised to the state as part of Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center initiative.