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305 posts categorized "Downtown Roch. buzz"

June 26, 2015

A taste of the East Coast coming to Med City

The flavor of the East Coast is on its way to southwest Rochester.

Joe Phillips is cooking up a new eatery called Jersey Jo's to serve up "authentic Philly Cheesesteaks and more."

FireShot Capture - Order Online - http___jerseyjos.com_order-onlineHe hopes to be able to open Jersey Jo's by mid-July at 187 16th Ave. SW. Cousins Subs is moving out of that 1,600-square-foot spot in the Shoppes on Second commercial center at the end of June. That address will put him just a couple blocks away from Mayo Clinic's St. Marys Hospital and many hotels.

Phillips, a software programmer who will continue that profession remotely from the restaurant, said this new project started very simply.

"I couldn't get a cheesesteak anywhere around here that I liked," he said. So after years of looking, he finally decided to open a place of his own.

Phillips plans to "import" many of the ingredients for the Jersey Jo's signature cheesesteak sandwiches from the East Coast to create as authentic of a flavor as possible.

In addition to Philly cheesesteaks, Jersey Jo's also will serve cold hoagie sandwiches, chicken wings and a trio of specialty burgers. The meat will be sliced on-site, deli-style for each of the made-to-order sandwiches.

While he has long worked in the technology industry, Phillips knows his way around a kitchen from years in restaurants during college.

Phillips' vision for Jersey Jo's is to create a laid-back place like the small mom-and-pop corner shops he remembers from growing up in New Jersey.

"I want to offer a nondiscriminatory place for people to come and feel welcome while they have some good food," he said.

He expects to have about eight people on staff.

 

June 15, 2015

Former Cardio3 launching $99 million IPO in US and worldwide

Celyad, formerly Cardio3 Biosciences, announced the terms for its $99 million stock offering this morning.

The Belgium-based Celyad, which is building a manufacturing facility in downtown Rochester and has close ties with Mayo Clinic, hopes to raise $99 million by offering 1.4 million shares at $70.98 per share.

CelyadWhile Celyad has traded on the European stock markets of NYSE Euronext Brussels and NYSE Euronext Paris for some time, this stock offering would introduce the regenerative medicine firm directly to the U.S. market. It has applied to make the U.S. offering on the Nasdaq stock market under the symbol CYAD.

A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission but has not yet become effective. It cannot sell or accept offers to buy until the SEC OKs the registration.

This move could benefit Mayo Clinic, which owned 2.69 percent of Celyad as of March 3. Mayo Clinic first acquired equity in Cardio3 in 2007, when it licensed stem-cell research by Mayo Clinic's Dr. Andre Terzic and Dr. Atta Behfar. Its cardiopoiesis technology repairs patients' hearts by re-programming their own stem cells to regenerate cardiac tissue.

Earlier this year, the Rochester City Council recently approved a lease for Celyad to take over the entire fifth floor of Rochester's Minnesota BioBusiness Center. Rochester Area Economic Development Inc. and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development also are involved in the deal.

Celyad is building a prototype manufacturing facility in the 14,963-square-feet of space on the fifth floor of the downtown building. Mayo, which leases the fourth through eighth floors, moved its employees out of the fifth floor earlier this year. The five-year lease calls for it to pay a rent of $18 per square foot, or $22,444.50, per month. The city agreed in the lease to pay for $600,000 in equipment and improvements to the space.

DEED is offering Ceylad a $357,000 Minnesota Job Creation Fund award if it invests $1.5 million in Rochester within a year and hires 33 employees within two years. The average wages of the new jobs will be $21.52 per hour.

June 10, 2015

Conley-Maass building sold for $450,000

The anticipated sale of a 115-year-old downtown Rochester landmark wrapped up on June 1.

Hunter and Traci Downs bought the Conley-Maass building at 14 Fourth St. SW for $450,000 with the intention of restoring it and using it as a business center. The couple, under the corporate name of CMD Holdings LLC, purchased it from AC Acquisitions LLC of Rochester
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AC Acquisitions, an offshoot of the Chafoulias family's Titan Development & Investments company, bought the building for $400,000 in 2013.

The building's last two tenants, Words Players Theatre and the Just For Kix dance studio, are moving out and construction is expected to begin soon.

June 09, 2015

Roch. repair shop get new name, but everything else remains same

The name over the door at Rochester's 434 South Broadway is new, but everything else about the auto repair shop is the same as it was before.

The Eastman Auto Repair sign recently went up on the small shop along the Zumbro River, though customers of Zeus Auto Repair will find nothing unchanged, said Zane Zodrow.

06092015eastmanautoZodrow, who owned Zeus Auto, says he sold the business to Gay Eastman at the start of 2015. The new sign just reflects that sale. He remains the manager of the three person, full-service shop.

"It's all the same. Honesty is still our main thing. We still treat people how we would want to be treated," he said. "We offer the same warranties."

However, Zodrow does a see a change coming down the road in the future.

The shop's building, which is owned by local investors, stands where Associated Bank would like to build a branch. That proposed project is still scheduled to go before the Rochester City Council after being rejected by the Rochester-Olmsted Planning and Zoning Commission.

Whether the bank branch goes forward or not, Zodrow does anticipate that the current shop will be  eventually be displaced by some sort development.

"We are looking for a new location," he said.

Zeus Auto Repair has operated at the prominent South Broadway location since 2010, when Zodrow moved from his previous spot on on Second Street Southwest.

May 28, 2015

Mayo hires consultant to map out Discovery Square

To help fire up Discovery Square as "a catalyst" to create jobs in downtown Rochester, Mayo Clinic has contracted a feasibility study, independent of the Destination Medical Center Corp.

Mayo Clinic has hired the DMC development manager, Hammes Co. of Madison, Wis., to analyze the Discovery Square piece of the DMC vision and offer a market plan of how DiscoverySquarethe medical and technology research area might be developed. Mayo is paying Hammes $1.5 million to conduct the study, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

One expected tenant is Epic, a Madison-based software system that recently signed a contract to help build an electronic health record system for Mayo Clinic. It's planning on having many employees based in Rochester.

"They've indicated a strong interest in the Discovery Square concept, and we're exploring ways they may participate in that," said Bolton.

Discovery Square is described as "the focal point" for Mayo Clinic's expansion of its science and technology institutes, and it's designed as a place for private companies and others to work with Mayo on research and other projects. It's marked on the DMC map as being central to the Gonda Building and the Mayo Medical School.

"The Square is designed to be playful and artful, similar to the Google Commons in order to, quite simply, attract the best and the brightest, the most creative minds in the world," according to the DMC plan.

Mayo Clinic owns about 35 percent of the property within the proposed Discovery Square area.

The goal of the new study is to map out the area more specifically and identify potential partners and funding streams to make it sustainable.

Jeff Bolton, Mayo's chief administrative officer and the chair of DMC's Economic Development Agency, said Mayo funded the study because it's not part of the DMC EDA's scope.

"The EDA budget is really to provide staffing to support the DMCC board, to work with developers and help market the DMC concept," he said. "Mayo Clinic views this as area where we could serve as an important catalyst to advance the DMC vision. That's why we stepped up and are making this investment."

Mayo Clinic's relationship with Hammes dates back to the very early days of the DMC concept in 2008 before it became public. Mayo Clinic first officially contracted with the company about DMC in 2011. When the EDA signed its own contract with Hammes last year for $2.3 million a year, it had no ongoing Mayo contracts.

Bob Dunn, president of Hammes, explained that this study will be similar to his company's work on the overall DMC plan but will be much more detailed.

This study will include a master plan, a conceptual design, preliminary engineering, financial analysis, financing plan, a market analysis, a review of effective land use and operational aspects for Discovery Square.

"This will be a block-by-block plan," he said. "But we're not starting at ground zero. Mayo, which owns a good portion of the land in Discovery Square, has already thought a lot about this development."

Meanwhile, Mayo is actively working with companies to try to get them to locate there, Bolton said.

"We're out marketing the concept," said Mayo's Bolton. "Obviously, we have an interest in terms of attracting groups to collaborate with us."

The project's success likely will be driven by what partners want to work with Mayo Clinic.

"If I were to forecast, I'd say there will be multiple of owners of facilities in Discovery Square. Many will probably be owned by private developers," predicted Bolton. "There won't be a monolithic owner of the facilities. The free market will play out in this environment."

He added that Mayo Clinic may participate "directly or indirectly" in some of the development.

The multimillion dollar question is when actual development of this new job generator area will begin.

"We'll need a critical mass of corporate engagement in order to have a developer to put that first shovel in the ground," said Bolton.

Dunn said this is a fascinating feature of what is already a unique project.

"DMC and Discovery Square, to me, is one of the most interesting things that I can think of nationally in terms of major economic development," he said. "It's unique because impact Mayo Clinic can bring to something like this in a market that's now beginning to mature and evolve very quickly."

May 22, 2015

Boutique owner to open second Rochester shop

A new boutique is bringing its quirky style to downtown Rochester this summer.

Camy Couture is slated to open on June 4 at 112 First Ave. SW, says owner Kim Shea. That's the high-profile spot next to O&B Shoes that previously housed Trademark Uniforms Inc. and About Face prior to that.

Darci Fenske of Paramark Real Estate brokered the deal.

CamycouturedowntownShea opened her first Camy Couture in Rochester's Shoppes of Maine area in 2013. She describes the store as having funky and unique women's fashions for "trendy moms and everybody else" at a reasonable price. It also carries accessories like handbags, scarves and sunglasses.

"We specialize in buying small sets. Once they are gone, they are gone. You don't see everyone around town wearing what you just bought," she said.

Now Shea is launching a second shop in the heart of Rochester's downtown.

"The opportunity came out of absolutely nowhere. It was too hard to pass up this location," she said. "The exposure of being downtown will help both stores."

She assures that new store will have the same "feel" of her at 4270 Maine Ave. S.E. Shea plans to have two on staff downtown. The Shoppes on Maine store is staffed by three, including her.

May 18, 2015

The hot dogs of spring to return to downtown Rochester

Spring has officially arrived in Rochester with the annual return of Rick "Murph" Murphy and his hot dog cart.

6a00d83451cc8269e2017eea981e83970d-250wiAfter a long winter of eating indoors, the return of Murphy's cart is a significant milestone for downtown lunch crowd.

This is year marks the tenth season of the jovial Murphy selling hot dogs downtown in the Peace Plaza. Weather permitting, he's planning on putting up his umbrella in front of the Wells Fargo building and open for business on Tuesday.

To celebrate his tenth anniversary, he's rolling out some spice to his menu with some new items.

In addition to his usual hot dogs, chips and soda, Murphy will be serving a new cheddar and jalapeno sausage with salsa, a new turkey dog with barbecue sauce and onions and a new Italian beef sandwich cooked in au jus sauce.

For the really hungry diners, he will also have new larger sizes of drinks and bags of chips.

May 01, 2015

Kahler, union contract talks at an impasse

Talks between the Kahler Hotel Group and the union representing most of its employees are at an impasse over health-care benefits and wages.

KHG, which includes four downtown Rochester hotels and the Textile Care Services commercial laundry, has been talking with Unite Here Local 21 since the start of the year. Local 21 represents about 480 KHG employees, including about 250 at the hotels and 200 at TCS.

177-8a6711a9b2b093a4d3be0de7aefc518dDue to a April 14 ruling by the National Labor Relations Board, the hotels and commercial laundry no longer will negotiate as one bargaining unit. That means each will have a separate contract, though the union says the details of the proposed contract and points of contention are very similar for both groups.

The latest contract, which was a six-month extension of a previous three-year contract, ended at the start of March. Since then, the hotels' housekeepers, bartenders, cooks and bellmen, as well as the laundry employees, have been working without a contract.

Local 21 President Brian Brandt and a team of employee representatives met with KHG and Richfield Hospitality executives on Tuesday to discuss the proposed five-year contract. Both sides say no progress was made nor was another meeting scheduled.

"The negotiations broke down very quickly," said Brandt. "They aren't budging even a little bit. They rejected our proposal outright without discussion or explanation of why."

Brandt said Tuesday's talks lasted about a half hour.
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Patrick Short, area managing director of operations for Kahler, said "several items" were covered at the meeting.

"At this time, we are not against an additional meeting, but no date has been chosen. We currently are standing by our last proposal offered on March 24," stated Short in an email Tuesday afternoon. The two sides last met on April 16.

Short released a broad outline of KHG's contract proposal with a statement last week.

"In our last best and final offer, we believe we have offered a very competitive package which continues to contain the best package for hospitality workers in the entire city of Rochester," he wrote in an email sent late Thursday afternoon.

Short says KHG is paying for up to 70 percent of the premium costs for the insurance provided to the union associates.

But Brandt responded that the deductibles are too high — more than $4,300 for single and more than $8,500 for plus one and family coverage and no copay on the prescription medications.

On wages, Short said KHG's offer would give 88 percent of the union associates an increase in their hourly rate of pay at the signing of the contract.

The union says while most would get a pay increase, the majority of employees would receive less than 1 percent on signing and less than 5 percent over the next five years. In addition, the offer reduces the step increases at 24, 42 and 60 months.

On the point of wages, Short said the KHG contract offer "does not reduce the hourly rate of pay for any of the union associates, regardless if the associate has been here a year or 30 years."

The union says one group of employees — banquet servers — will see a reduction of income under the KHG contract offer. They no longer will receive any of the service charge the company adds on to customers' bill, which will result in a 50 percent or more pay loss for the servers.

Following Tuesday's meeting, Brandt said Local 21 intends to file a number of charges against KHG of possible violations of federal law with the National Labor Relations Board. The charges include surface bargaining, bad faith bargaining, failing to provide accurate information for negotiations, discriminating against bargaining committee members concerning discipline and job assignments, telling probationary workers to remove union buttons and change in working conditions by removing union notices from bulletin boards.

The question facing both groups now is what comes next in the negotiations.

"We'll definitely be taking more actions and doing the things we need to do to pressure on the company," said Brandt.

Those immediate actions will include more picket lines in front of the Kahler hotels. When asked if those actions could include some sort of strike or work stoppage, he responded, "It's is always an option, without a doubt."

April 30, 2015

Lisa Clarke to officially become leader of DMC's EDA

More than a year after starting a national search for an executive director to lead the Destination Medical Center's Economic Development Agency, Mayo Clinic's Lisa Clarke has been hired to fill that role.

As DMC's board secretary and Mayo Clinic's Community Engagement head, Clarke has filled the interim role of leading the EDA from the organization's start.

The DMC group originally posted advertisements for the position in February 2014, in hopes of hiring someone by April of that year. This hiring is solely the responsibility of the EDA and doesn't involve the DMC Corp. board or the Rochester City Council.

Clarke previously described her role as the first executive director of the EDA as building the organization and creating the processes as well as getting approval of the DMC master plan. The next director has a different job ahead of them.

"The first full time executive director's role will be to execute the plan," she said. "The important thing is to get someone who has the experience in economic development and in development, in general. The most important thing is to get the right person with the right skill set."

While Lisa Clarke will step into the role of EDA director, she will remain connected to Mayo Clinic.

"The technical answer is that she's 100 percent an employee of the EDA," said Jeff Bolton, Mayo Clinic's Chief Administrative Officer and chair of the EDA . "However, we did not want her to lose the benefit of being a Mayo employee."

Bolton explained that all of the personnel costs related to Clarke will be covered by Mayo Clinic from that $585,000 annual contribution to the EDA.

"I'm part of the package," said Clarke with a grin.

When asked about Mayo Clinic's relationship with the EDA, Bolton said, "The EDA is a separate legal entity. It is separate from Mayo."

Clarke plans to set up an office for the EDA staff in the roughly 6,000-square-foot former Red Lobster space at 195 S. Broadway.

The space is on the street level of the 60-year-old Rosa Parks Pavilion building. Mayo bought the building for $2.37 million in 1997, and Red Lobster leased space there from 1987 until it closed in 2011 and opened in a new building by Apache Mall.

With the hiring of Clarke and the EDA moving into Mayo Clinic office, is Mayo Clinic concerned about the possible appearance that it is controlling the EDA?

"I do think the EDA an independent agency is the right approach, the right structure. This is a many part orchestra, if you will. I do see Mayo having one voice in this with the city, county  and the state," Bolton said. "I think there's a good separation without making it independent of the entire process. Everything is really tightly connected, really tightly coordinated."

Clarke echoed Bolton's sentiments about the relationship between Mayo and the EDA.

"It truly has been a very positive thing to have all of these players around the table to represent the diversity of the community and its diverse businesses with Mayo Clinic being the largest," she said.

Lisa Smith, the lieutenant governor of Minnesota and chair of the DMCCorp. board of directors said that Mayo's role is important to the big picture.

"From the perspective of the state, it's great to have a really, really strong anchored tenant in the private sector. We've got four strong partners with very specific ideas about moving this forward," she said. "There are a lot of strong opinions around the table. I think it works very well."

Rochester chamber office closed

If you have business to do at the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce, don't go to their offices on South Broadway today.

The offices will be closed for renovations for 6-8 weeks. The chamber staff will be working off-site during that time.
Chamber events will continue as scheduled.
 
 
Call 288-1122, if you have questions.