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345 posts categorized "Downtown Roch. buzz"

August 16, 2016

New biz incubator is up and running

08152016collider1The renovation of the 115-year-old Conley-Maass building at 14 Fourth St. SW by owners Traci and Hunter Downs is almost complete

The Bleu Duck Kitchen on the main level of the building is ready to open to the public next week.

0816collider2Meanwhile, upstairs, the Downs' new Collider business incubator is officially open for business under the management of Jamie Sundsbak. About one-third of the works spaces are contracted out so far, he said.

On Monday's opening day, Chris Lukenbill moved in his software development teams, which works for Bright Agrotech of Laramie, Wyo.

August 15, 2016

Bleu Duck Kitchen taking reservations for Aug. 26

It looks like the 08152016bleuduckBleu Duck Kitchen is ready to fly in downtown Rochester.

I hobbled over to the almost completely renovated 115-year-old Conley-Maass building at 14 Fourth St. SW. this morning for the open house for the Collider business incubator on the second floor. 

I'll put up more about the Collider soon. But first, I thought I'd share that Chefs Erik Kleven and Erik Paulsen say that they are accepting reservations for Aug. 26 for the public opening of their Bleu Duck Kitchen on the main level of the building.

08152016bleuduckcounterConstruction on the 60-seat "New American Bistro"-style restaurant is mostly complete, though some fine-tuning of the private event space is still underway  in the back.

 

Front of the house staff showed up at the new eatery today to meet for the first time. 

Pro tip - the chefs say the tables in the front window space are already the most popular spots. So if you want one of those high-profile tables, make your reservations earlier.

 

Eye clinic moving into Kahler space

The eyes have it.

Rochester's Dr. Ty Huber has signed a lease to open a second location for his Huber Eyecare clinic in the Kahler Grand Hotel lobby, in the corner space that overlooks the Peace Plaza and was last occupied by the Revelation/Les Wigs Renee shop.

08152016kahlercorner"I'm sure it will be very successful. I'm not concerned at all about taking on such an expensive space," he said. Huber estimated that this new downtown location will cost about double the per-square-foot cost of his main clinic at Sienna Square, 711 Commerce Drive NW.

"I have a lot of customers who work downtown. This will make it easier for them to access Huber Eyecare," he said.

08152016kahlerinsidespaceHuber, who opened his first local office in 2007, expects his contractor, Todd Severson of TLS Cos., to start work on the space later this month. He hopes to be able to open 1,360-square-foot space in early October. He's hiring a second optometrist and two other employees for the new clinic.

Leasing that high-profile corner of the Kahler to an eye clinic is a change to the previous strategy that Kahler Hospitality Group discussed during the high-profile lawsuit to evict Renee Carlson's Revelation/Les Wigs Renee/Merle Norman Cosmetics. While Carlson won the case, she eventually moved her businesses out of the Kahler at the end of 2015. In June, she opened a store in Decorah, Iowa.

During the 2013 case, Javon Bea, the Oronoco businessman who leads the investment partnership in charge of Kahler Hospitality Group, testified that "the new owners thought it (the hotel lobby) was very hodge-podge ... Some functions in the lobby were destinations, not impulse services, and they didn't think those were appropriate to be in the lobby of the Kahler Grand Hotel."

When asked for comment last week, Bea forwarded questions about how Huber Eye Care fits with that strategy to KHG's Chief Financial Officer Leslie Hohmann.

"I feel that Huber Optical is going to a good addition providing patient care support directly across from Mayo and the front of the Kahler Grand," Hohmann said in an email. "We expect that the optical business will be very neat and clean right next to the main entry to the Kahler Grand. While impulse businesses work well in many spots, they are often food-related and carry debris and smells that we did not feel were appropriate for the entry to the Kahler."

 

August 11, 2016

The end is near for Rochester's Nelson Cheese

After more than 30 years of selling sandwiches on Rochester's Broadway, Nelson Cheese Factory is planning to call it quits.

LsHowever, the exact closing date of the small deli at 210 North Broadway still is being determined.


"I'm not sure yet when it will close … maybe next week," owner Ed Greenheck on Wednesday. "I do know that soon there will no longer be a Nelson Cheese Factory in Rochester."


Greenheck is hoping to find a buyer to step in and re-open it as a di Nelsoncheeseclippingfferent eatery. The deli has two employees in the small spot in the Disons Cleaners building on North Broadway.

He cited several reasons for the closure, including the high
er costs of doing business in Rochester as well as Minnesota, competing with Mayo Clinic to hire employees and focusing more on the growth of their Wisconsin locations.


Rochester's Nelson Cheese is a satellite of the 158-year-old cheese factory in Nelson, Wis. The Greenheck family opened the Med City shop in the 1980s. It was located at 506 N. Broadway until an expansion of Marigold Foods, now Kemps, forced them to move.

The deli reopened at 210 N. Broadway in 1988, where it has served Mr. T and Old Fashioned sandwiches ever since.

August 04, 2016

Name of new complex revealed as Flats on Fourth

The Buckeye is out, as is Ovation.

The name of the new 92-unit apartment and retail complex being built on the corner of Fourth Street and Third Avenue Southeast in downtown Rochester has fluctuated during the planning phase. 

F89c28e7467b81cdb720c0c067eca5d3_f252Now that a major hole has been dug across from the Olmsted County Government Center and Rochester City Hall, the developer unveiled the official name for the $15 million project.

Nate Stencil, of Stencil Homes, confirmed Wednesday it is now called Flats on Fourth. The South Dakota developer is driving the project with his partner, Sean A. Kaufhold.

The new name was announced this morning during a public event organized by the Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency, according to Stencil.

The name was a minor issue in the neighborhood, because some people objected to having it called The Buckeye. The complex is being built on the corner where the longtime Buckeye Liquor store once stood. The store since has moved a little farther south down Third Avenue.

As the project progressed through the early planning stages, the project name was changed to Ovation on Stencil's website. However, it turns out that was just a possible name that was ultimately rejected.

Now, when this complex opens next summer, the name over the door will be Flats on Fourth. 

While they haven't started marketing the space, Stencil says there already has been interest in the ground level retail space in the complex.

"We've had some inquiries on the retail end, but not from the kind of retail we are looking for. We're looking for very specific tenants that will be a good fit for that area," he said.

Stencil recently built and opened two other apartment complexes, Nue52 and Kascade Place. Both are near Rochester's 65th Street Northwest interchange across U.S. 52 from the North Menards store. 

Another Rochester apartment project by Stencil, The Pines, still is under construction. Once Flats on Fourth and The Pines open, Stencil will own 463 apartments in Rochester. 

 

July 12, 2016

Civic Inn = The Parker

07122016theparker 6a00d83451cc8269e2011570b90dd1970b-800wiThe new sign is up across from the Post-Bulletin for The Parker, the transformed Civic Inn.

The 96-year-old building at 101 East Center St. has been transformed and upgraded in the past few months.

A grand opening for the "dorm-style" complex with 62 units is slated for Friday.

July 07, 2016

Broadway Flashback - early 2013 Broadway at Center plan

Following Wednesday's announcement about the delay in the financing for the now-$145 million Broadway at Center project, I decided to look at back an earlier version of that project rolled out by Titan Development and Investments in 2013.

Here's an article I filed on May 31, 2013 with an assist from Managing Editor Jay Furst. The rendering is of the version of Broadway at Center introduced at Titan's press conference:

Just a week after Mayo's Destination Medical Center plan was approved by the state, a Rochester developer announced plans today for a 25-story tower at the corner of South Broadway and East Center Street.

6a00d83451cc8269e2019102c4aed3970c-800wiThe Broadway at Center mixed-use project, proposed by Andy Chafoulias' Titan Development and Investments, would have about 30,000 square feet of Class A office space, a 150-room four-star hotel, 150 market-rent apartments, a "high-end grocery" and a Minnesota-branded steakhouse, among other attractions.

The announcement was made at a news conference this morning at Titan's offices in the Minnesota Biobusiness Center. Chafoulias didn't attend; the announcement was made by John Beltz, vice president of brand revenue development.

Titan is "poised for some very significant growth and contributions to Rochester," Beltz said, citing the company's planned restaurant and entertainment complex three blocks south at the C.O. Brown building site and a seniors apartment project further north on Broadway.

No cost estimate was provided for the Broadway at Center tower, and Beltz said the tower could go higher as planning proceeds -- possibly topping the Broadway Residences and Suites tower next door, which is the tallest building in Rochester and southern Minnesota. As planned, the building would have about 300,000 square feet of space and would be connected to the skyway system and a planned city parking ramp on the block.

The new building would be on the northwest corner of the block bounded by South Broadway, East Center Street, First Street Southeast and First Avenue Southeast. The Broadway Residence and Suites tower is on the southwest corner, and the new project would be on the current site of CJ's Midtown Lounge, Jakobson Management Co. and Ginny's Fine Fabrics.

The goal is to have a "hole in the ground" and construction underway next year, Beltz said. He declined to identify the hotel, restaurant and retail tenants who are in discussions with Titan but said in a news release that they're "finalizing negotiations with several recognizable Minnesota brands."

Rochester's lack of a top-tier hotel brand was often cited during the DMC legislative process as something the city needs to attract national and international medical visitors.

The announcement signals Andy Chafoulias taking the wheel of a project envisioned by his father, Rochester developer Gus Chafoulias, in 2007. That proposal was for a two-tower mixed-use project with retail, apartments and office space as well as possible space for University of Minnesota Rochester.

As with the previous version, Rochester architect Hal Henderson of HGA Architects and Engineers would direct the project design. Darren Schlapkohl, Titan vice president of development and construction management, said the project has "been in design for some time and continues to evolve."

Mayo's DMC initiative, which was announced in January and won legislative approval less than two weeks ago, is "an excellent addition to the vision" for Rochester, Beltz said, but Henderson said the Broadway at Center project has been at an advanced stage for at least six months.

June 29, 2016

Mayo Clinic tech doesn't fare well in Celyad/Cardio3 study

Sometimes lost opportunities are actually positive things. 
 
The City of Rochester really wanted rock star Belgium biotech Celyad/ Cardio3 to build a manufacturing facility here to handle the Mayo Clinic-created C-Cure stem cell cardiac treatment.
 
CelyadThat fell apart, when Celyad/Cardio3 pulled out of its plan to take over the fifth floor of the Minnesota Buiobusiness Center.
 
However, this week that looks like a good thing. Rochester make have ducked being stuck with a half built facility after the results of the latest study of C-Cure.
 
A Chart 1 Phase 3 study found that no difference between patients treated with the C-Cure and those given a placebo.
 
Here's how an article on the Seeking Alpha investment news site described the situation:
 

The failure of a pivotal trial of its heart failure cell therapy C-Cure, erased 38% from the Belgian company’s valuation this afternoon, an outcome that will make its search for a partner considerably harder.

Indeed, without a partner the project is effectively dead, as Celyad confirmed today that it would not conduct further clinical work alone.

------

The Chart-1 phase III study failed to show this: it recruited 271 patients with chronic advanced symptomatic heart failure, and compared C-Cure against sham treatment. The primary endpoint was a composite of mortality, morbidity, quality of life, six-minute-walk test and left ventricular structure and function at 39 weeks, and on this measure C-Cure patients failed to show any difference versus placebo.

 
That must be pretty disappointing after nine years of promising results.
 
 Celyad/Cardio3 licensed stem-cell research by Mayo Clinic's Dr. Andre Terzic and Dr. Atta Behfar in 2007. It was called Cardio3 Biosciences back then. They have collaborated for years on the cardiopoiesis technology the company uses to repair patients' hearts by re-programming their own stem cells to regenerate cardiac tissue. Mayo Clinic owned 2.69 percent of Celyad as of March 3, 2015.
 
However, Celayd bought an NKR-T cell platform from Celdara Medical in 2015. It appeared that the company very quickly turned away from C-Cure to focus on the new area. That is looking like the saving grace for Celyad today.
 

 All of which would have been disastrous if not for the presence of its fledgling immuno-oncology pipeline, which no doubt prevented an even bigger share price collapse.

-----

Further data updates are expected in the coming months, and indeed this afternoon Celyad’s chief executive, Christian Homsy, ended a conference call discussing the C-Cure results by flagging approaching good news in oncology. Given the relatively small amount paid to access this technology and the huge hopes for the adoptive T-cell space, investors could indeed soon forget the C-Cure failure.

June 21, 2016

New downtown skyway going up quickly

Construction of a new downtown Rochester skyway is well underway.

06212016skywayworkThis is a small skyway that will link the 318 Commons building on First Avenue to the former Paine Furniture building on South Broadway. It will span a small alley to make the link.

The connection will link University of Minnesota Rochester offices in the 318 Commons building to future UMR offices in the Paine building.

A quick peek down the alley from behind Cafe Steam showed that the construction is rolling along really quickly.

Once completed, downtown pedestrians will be able to get even farther without stepping out in the snow or rain. 

 

June 10, 2016

More Dunkin' Donuts coming southern Minnesota

Two years after making a flashy return to Minnesota with a Rochester shop, Dunkin' Donuts has signed a franchise agreement to bring three more locations to the region.

The Massachusetts doughnut maker announced Thursday that it has signed a deal with new franchisees Oliver Schugel and David Schooff to open three new restaurants in Mankato. The first one is slated to open in 2017.

06232014dunkindonutsMankato is leaping ahead of Rochester, which was expected to have about five locations by now. 

Rochester Retail Services, a division of the Kahler Hospitality Group, opened a shop here in June 2014 at 15 First Ave. SW in its Kahler Grand Hotel complex in the heart of downtown. It was the first one in Minnesota since 2005. Dunkin' said then that Rochester Retail Services would be opening five more shops in the next few years.

That changed last fall, according to Dunkin' Donuts Senior Director of Franchising Patrick Cunningham.

"Rochester Retail Services, the franchisee of record, will continue to own and operate the existing restaurant in the Kahler. However, they will not develop more Dunkin' stores as we previously reported," he said in October.

When announcing the coming Mankato shops, Dunkin' said franchise opportunities remain available in Rochester. Plus, "to help fuel additional growth in the market, special development incentives are available."

In Mankato, the new franchisees have more than 45 years of combined experience in business and real estate development.

“We have a passion and loyalty for the Dunkin' Donuts brand and look forward to opening our restaurants in the years to come," stated Schooff.