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256 posts categorized "Downtown Roch. buzz"

April 18, 2014

Downtown building sells for $771,000

Yet another building in Rochester's downtown core sold recently.

20140418_141438The 129-year-old building at 325 South Broadway was  purchased for $771,500 on May 26 by RGA of Rochester. RGA is a group of local investors that includes Paul Armon of Armon Architecture, Inc. and Peter and Paul Gerrard of La Crosse, Wis.-based Gerrard Co. 

Gerrard Co. developed the nearby multi-million dollar Metropolitan Market Place complex that houses the popular People's Food Cooperative as well as 62 apartments at First Avenue and Sixth Street Southwest in September.

20140418_141616The company is also working on a new Rochester apartment complex along 8 1/2 Avenue Northwest.

Unlike other recent downtown purchases, Armon and the Gerrards don't seem to have immediate development plans for that site. Their local offices are based in the building. Armon Architecture and Gerrard Cos. have been tenants there since May, 2012.

John Hasseler, a jewelry, goldsmith and artist, opened Broadway Jewelry and Visual Arts in the storefront retail space there in 2012. Prior to that, Cheri's Boutique was based there and Carson's Framing before that.

RGA bought the building, which was constructed in 1885, from the estate of Harold Perry. Perry purchased in 1999 for $185,000.

This is just one many downtown real estate purchases in recently months.

Bloom International Realty, based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, bought the seven-story Associated Bank Building at 206 S. Broadway for $7 million in September.

• Local investors paid $3 million for the Riverside Building at 400 S Broadway and two other buildings along a two-block stretch of South Broadway from Fourth Street to Sixth Street last summer.

• The 63-year-old youth theater building at 12 Fourth St. S.W. was bought for $400,000 in August by AC Acquisitions LLC of Rochester, a Titan Development & Investments company.

April 15, 2014

Doubletree's Rochester Club to stop serving lunch

RochclubletterTitan Development's Doubletree by Hilton hotel sent out a letter to the members of its exclusive Rochester Club to notify them that the club will soon stop serving lunch.

These club members have access to the Doubletree's Executive Lounge, which it accessible only from the two executive level floors. It serves a hot breakfast buffet, a light hot dinner and cocktails with the Doubletree cookies and milk later in the evening.

Rochester clubNot sure how many people are members of the Rochester Club, but I believe a lot of local business leaders use this service.

The letter, which was forwarded to me from multiple members, mentions how much Titan has on its plate right now with its two downtown developments. It didn't explain how those projects connect to the Rochester Club and exactly why the lunch is going away.

I have a call in to the hotel to try to get more details.

April 10, 2014

Associated Bank working on new spots for Rochester branches

Associated Bank is planning to close its branch in the Hy-Vee North grocery  and then re-open it in a future northwest Rochester location.

Associateddrawing1The Green Bay, Wis. bank announced this week that it will close the grocery store branch at 500 37th St. N.W. at the end of July. Hy-Vee customers will then be served by Associated Bank's Rochester locations on South Broadway, First Avenue Southwest and 16th Street Southwest.

The five branch employees based at the Hy-Vee branch will work at Associated's three other Rochester branches until a new northwest facility "in the West Circle Drive corridor" is completed.

While bank officials wouldn't confirm the location of the to-be-constructed bank yet, Associated has submitted very early plans to the city to build a 3,683-square-foot branch in the 19th Street/West Circle Drive commercial development anchored by Costco.

Re-locating the northwest branch is not the only Rochester move coming up for the bank.

New owners have acquired Associated Bank's downtown building at 206 South Broadway and the bank needs to move out by spring 2015. There was speculation when the site development permit was filed for the West Circle Drive branch that it might serve as the new home for the downtown branch.

Not so, says the bank's spokesman. It's actively looking for a new location that will allow it to maintain its presence downtown.

“We are finalizing plans for an exciting new Associated Bank location in the West Circle Drive Corridor and continue to review opportunities for a new downtown bank location," stated Executive Vice President David Stein in this week's announcement.

Stein also commented that, "The greater Rochester area represents an important market for Associated Bank, and we are committed to serving our customers there with expanded operations and services."

Associated Bank entered the Rochester area in 2004, when it acquired First Federal Capital Bank. First Federal was short-lived here. It picked up the holdings of the long-time Marquette Bank in 2002.

March 27, 2014

New 24 floor downtown tower takes first step

A proposed 24-story mixed-used complex that would be the second tallest building in Rochester took its first official step forward on Wednesday night.

Broadwayatcenter2The City Planning and Zoning Commission voted to support Titan Development's preliminary plan for the Broadway at Center project. It's slated to be built on South Broadway and East Center Street, just north of Broadway Residence and Suites by BridgeStreet.

"This is a unique project," said designer Hal Henderson of HGA, Inc. to the commission members. "It will be one of the top-quality buildings in downtown."

The 411,000-square-foot Broadway at Center will include retail and restaurants, a 184-unit Embassy Suites Hotel on 11 floors, 84 apartments on six floors and underground parking. It also will feature a landscaped terrace on the third floor.

Broadwayatcenter3"It adds a significant amount of needed retail to the downtown," said Henderson.

Titan anticipates the project will fit with the goals of the Destination Medical Center initiative and will be able to "leverage" city funds to help finance it, Henderson said.

The preliminary plan for the "incentive development" will move on to the Rochester City Council for its approval. Titan, which is spearheaded by Rochester developers Andy and Gus Chafoulias, then will be cleared to fine-tune the project and bring a final version of the plan back to the zoning commission and City Council for the official green light to move ahead.

While some planning commission members, such as Lindsey Meek and Wade Goodenberger, had suggestions for minor improvements, the group overall was supportive of the preliminary plan.

Broadwayatcenter1"Redevelopment is long overdue on that corner," said commission member Nick Campion.

Some details still need to be finalized, including working out a plan with the city for a private-public parking ramp, vacating the alley that runs behind the current buildings and hammering out the details of the complex's connections to the skyway system.

Negotiations are underway with city staff about the proposed parking ramp, which will be connected to Broadway at Center by skyway, said Henderson.

"Plans for the parking structure are lagging behind," he acknowledged. "It's very complicated."

An application to vacate a portion of the alley was filed with the city recently. Commission member Michael Walters voiced mild concern about approving the preliminary plan before the alley issue was resolved. In the end, he was satisfied with Titan's explanations and backed the plan contingent on the eventual finalizing of the alley issue.

"Actually, we're only asking to vacate a portion of the alley. … We will leave an alley there. It will just be re-positioned," said Henderson.

The proposal calls for the alley to be "bridged" by the parking structure. It will remain open for use by the public.

Titan's working out a plan with Broadway Residence and Suites to establish a skyway link to the south between the two buildings. The project proposal states that Broadway at Center will have skyway connections in all four directions. Beside the south skyway, it also will be able to connect west across Broadway, east to the parking ramp and north "for future development."

Assuming everything goes according to plan, demolition of the buildings that house CJ's Midtown Lounge, Ginny's Fine Fabrics and Jakobson Management Co. could happen this summer, with construction beginning late summer or early fall, said Mark Steege, the chief financial officer of Titan Ventures, the parent company for Titan Development.

The tenants are expected to move out in the next couple of weeks, he said.

Steege attended the meeting with Gus Chafoulias, the chairman of the board for Titan. Royal Management President Imad A Baker of Washington, D.C., was also at the meeting, Royal Management developed the 26-story Broadway Residence and Suites in 2004.

Olive oil shop + fashion boutique

Sometimes oil does mix well.

Stillwater Olive Oil Co. is reviving its downtown Rochester presence by moving in with Exquisite Leather, Luggage and Furs on Historic Third Street.

03262014exquisite"It's kind of a good fit. Lots of women who shop at the boutique also buy from us," says co-owner Ginger Zehm. "There's a lot of overlap."

Lisa Irhke, who owns the three Exquisite Leather boutiques in Rochester, agrees that the two retailers have a lot in common. Irhke opened the 1,600-square-foot store at 20 Third St. S.W. last year. Since then she has found that the boutique doesn't need all of the available space. Stillwater Oil is crafting its own niche within the store that will be about the same size as its previous spot in Rochester.

StillwaterOliveOil440Zehmn hopes to re-open Stillwater Olive Oil by April 1 within Exquisite Leather. The olive oil shop and the fashion boutique will "share" staff with Exquisite Leather's employees being trained to sell the oil and vinegars.

She and co-owner Holly Arps started with their original shop in Stillwater in 2010. They followed their success there by opening a second location in Rochester within the Kahler Hotel in 2011. That earned them a number of Med City foodie fans who were attracted to the wide selection of high-end, flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

"Then there were lots of changes at Kahler. We needed a change," she says. "But we wanted to stay in downtown."

Stillwater Oil's Kahler shop closed at the start of this month to prepare for the transition to Historic Third Street. Manager Tony Miller since has moved on to work at Cook's Pantry, a culinary specialty store in southwest Rochester.

March 21, 2014

DMC origins stem from lunch chat six years ago

For the first part of two DMC sections, I chatted with Dr. Glenn Forbes, Bruce Fairchild, John Wade, Jeff Korsmo and Lisa Clarke about the evolution of the concept of the Destination Medical Center.

DMCMy article tracks the journey of the idea from a casual lunch conversation in March 2008 to DMC's appearance in the 2012 sales tax vote and the unveiling of the full concept in 2013.

Obviously, the idea of the City of Rochester and Mayo Clinic working from the playbook is not a novel idea in the Med City. Some at Mayo dismissed my use of this luncheon chat as a startng point. However, they weren't about to offer any better dates as begin DMC's genesis other than the formation of Mayo Clinic 250 years ago.

Unfortunately, the DMC section wasn't quite large enough to accomodate an article that tracked each milestone since 1889, so I just went with the March 2008 conversation.

Here's a little bit of what turned into a very lengthy article. Check out the rest in this weekend's DMC section.

-------------------------------

Destination Medical Center is such a common topic in Rochester today that it's hard to keep in mind that the concept has only been known publicly for just over a year.

But the concept that grew into the $6 billion DMC initiative appears to have started with a chat at a Virginia conference center about six years ago.

Flag01-bdyjpgThat conversation was in March 2008 at Mayo Clinic's National Symposium on Health Care Reform at Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Va. The place was bustling with national leaders in the health care business. Representatives of the presidential candidates were there, promoting their health-care reform plans.

But not everyone at the conference worked directly in health care. Mayo Clinic flew out two local business leaders — John Wade, then-president of the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce, and Bruce Fairchild, then-regional director of Interstate Hotels in Rochester — as guests.

Since November 2007, Wade and Fairchild had been talking about developing a plan to bring the community and its largest employer into sync to serve more efficiently the thousands of people who stream into Rochester. While it wasn't a new idea, a move to formalize such a plan was gaining momentum. Amid the action at the symposium, the pair decided they should share their ideas with Mayo Clinic.

They asked to meet with Mayo Rochester CEO Dr. Glenn Forbes, without much expectation that he'd have time to meet.

"But true to form, Dr. Forbes took the time, and we had lunch together," Wade said in a recent interview. Forbes was Mayo Rochester CEO from 2006 to 2009, and "his very nature is to be collaborative," Wade said.

The three met in a restaurant at the Lansdowne conference center, and their lunch unexpectedly turned out to be a long one.

It started with the trio "blue sky, brainstorming ideas," said Fairchild, who now manages hotels in Texas. But the talk quickly picked up momentum.

"We were getting increasingly excited about the possibilities," said Forbes, who is now retired from Mayo Clinic. "The lunch went over several cups of coffee for about 2 1/2 hours."

March 10, 2014

Downtown building down to make way for new complex

03102014cobrowndemoIt 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.

02282014cobrowndemoNow 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.

6a00d83451cc8269e201a73d746c7c970d-800wi-2 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 070208citycentrejk_2demolished 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.”
Co_brown
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.

Citycenter-H3-Plaza-on-Historic-3rd-rendering-1-600x330While 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.

February 10, 2014

City Centre plans take shape

Titan Development and Investments officials, led by father-and-son developers Gus and Andy Chafoulias, have finalized plans for a six-story commercial complex with a roof-top lounge on top to be built in downtown Rochester.

CitycentresiteWhen buzz about the project began in May, it was described by Andy Chafoulias as a four-story building. However, Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center initiative plus news that the tenants in the nearby seven-story Associated Bank Building are being displaced spurred the developers to change their plans.

The project, now called City Centre One, 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 DMC.

A special redevelopment tax-increment-financing district was approved by the city to raise $300,000 to cover the asbestos removal and demolition of the former C.O. Brown building at 300 S. Broadway. Once the prep work is complete, the site will be ready for demolition crews to clear away the old building to make way for the City Centre One.

Titan submitted a development plan to the city last week, which is the first detailed description of the complex since it was first announced.

Plans by Rochester's CRW Architecture + Design Group show a 34,371-square-foot, seven-story complex.

The street level of the building is expected to feature an Italian restaurant, created and run by restaurateurs Pat Woodring and Scott Foster. Woodring and Foster are the minds behind Chester's Kitchen & Bar and Pescara. That floor will be the largest at 5,144 square feet in size.

The second through sixth floors are all expected to house commercial office tenants similar those that now lease space in the Associated Bank Building. Each of those floors are slated to be 5,121 square feet in size.

Topping the structure is a 3,622-square-foot rooftop lounge, which also will be a creation  of Woodring and Foster.

February 05, 2014

Mayo Clinic still fishing for plans for ex-Red Lobster space

Mayo Clinic has strapped on its bib and is taking a hammer to its Lobster.

Mayo has crews doing interior demolition in the former Red Lobster space at Second Street Southwest and Broadway in downtown Rochester. However, Mayo Clinic says that Exredlobster there's no plan behind the work being done in former 187-seat seafood restaurant.

"The future use of that space is still not decided," said Kelley Luckstein, Mayo Clinic public affairs.

The 11,880-square-foot, street-level space at 200 First St. S.W. is in the 60-year-old Rosa Parks Pavilion. Mayo Clinic has owned it since 1997.

After 25 years of leasing the space, Red Lobster moved out in 2011 to take over a former stand-alone restaurant by the Apache Mall. At that time, Mayo Clinic officials said they were considering options for the prominent downtown corner.

They were still pondering in 2012, when Mayo sent in workers to remove the carpet, paneling, ceiling tiles and bar left behind by the restaurant.

That work permit was very detailed in describing the purpose." Just removing items for clean-up to get rid of fish odor," it said. "Future tenant not defined at this time."

This latest permit, filed with the city last week, is not as colorful nor specific. However, it did estimate the value of the interior demolition job at $65,000.

That's a lot of clams for work on a space that has been drifting along without direction for three years.

It seems that Mayo Clinic still is fishing for a definition for that phrase from the 2012 permit: "Future tenant."

January 30, 2014

Dunkin' Donuts rolling into Roch.

The deal is done and Dunkin' Donuts is rolling into downtown Rochester.

After months of rumors, the famous coffee and pastry chain officially is signed up to open on First Avenue Southwest in the Kahler Grand Hotel complex.

Simpsons_donuts-l1"We want to make sure the tenants we have are viable for Mayo's DMC plans," said Cherylanne Thomas, managing director of marketing for Richfield Hospitality in Rochester, Richfield manages the five Kahler hotel properties here.

"Obviously, Dunkin' is a great brand. They were looking to lease in the area. It seemed like a good fit," she said.

Thomas says a franchisee, Donuts Non Traditional LLC, plans to open a Dunkin' Donuts between Hanny's and Victoria's Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar. The move of Optical Vision with Flair into part of the Hanny's store is opening up the space for the doughnut maker.

Building permits for the project were submitted this week to the city. The rough timeline is for the new Dunkin' Donuts to open by late June or early July, according to Thomas.

This could be the first of an estimated 50 Minnesota locations the company would like to open in the next few years. Dunkin' Donuts hasn't had a presence in Minnesota for almost a decade. The final shop, which was in Austin, closed in 2005. The Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin' Brands announced its plans to return to the state earlier this month. 

At that time, Steve Rafferty, senior director of U.S. franchising, stated that the new locations would be focused around the Twin Cities metro areas as well as Rochester, Mankato and Duluth.

Rafferty said franchisees need to have a minimum of $250,000 in "liquid capital" and $50,000 net worth per location. Each franchisee is responsible for a territory with at least six locations.

Rochester's franchisee, Donuts Non Traditional LLC, incorporated in October. While Thomas describes it as being based in the Twin Cities, state documents list its address as the same as Rochester's Dunlap & Seeger law firm. It's not unusual for some companies to use their attorneys' address for such filings. Dunlap & Seeger also represents Kahler Hotel properties.

This is the latest in a series of tenant changes, some of which have spurred lawsuits from tenants unwilling to move. Javon R. Bea, the chair of the Kahler Hotel Group's board of directors, has been orchestrating the changes.

Thomas said Bea's goal is make the hotels better.

"Obviously, he supports both retail and restaurants in the community," she said.

The expectation at this point is that the new Dunkin' Donut location will be open seven days a week. Thomas added that the franchisee is planning on using the company's latest design concept for this location.

"It'll feel more like a cafe," she said.