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321 posts categorized "Downtown Roch. buzz"

November 10, 2015

Get ready to Primp

There's a lot of activity on the high-profile corner of 100 First Ave. SW in downtown Rochester.

The shiny signs are up, clothes are going up on racks and the new doors will open soon.

09112015primpPrimp, a popular Twin Cities boutique, is opening its first Med City store on Friday.

Owners Michele Henry and Wesley Uthus announced the opening on Monday.

"We're excited to announce our 7th location, in Rochester, MN, will be open this FRIDAY!… Can't wait to meet you all!," they exclaimed (hence the exclamation marks) on their Facebook page.

Primp carries a full array of women's apparel, from fancy dresses to denim and sweaters. Primp also stocks plenty of accessories, like handbags, jewelry and scarves.

It's tagline is 'Cheap, chic boutique.' Everything is less than $100. Most are items are less than $50.

The news of Primp coming to town broke in early October. It's stepping into the storefront which was the long-time home of the Rochester landmark, O&B Shoes. O&B marched less than a block away to 19 First Ave. SW in August.

"We were looking at a lot of places. But when this space came, we dropped all of the other locations," Henry said at the time. "There is such a great energy in downtown Rochester."

Darci Fenske of Paramark Real Estate Services brokered the deal to bring the brand into the Rochester market.

November 04, 2015

What's the skinny on new subway spa?

A well-known Rochester downtown subway business now has more skin in the game with the opening of Total Image Esthetic Center.

Hillary Seltun opened the new medical spa in the Kahler Hotel subway, across the hallway from Hanny's, on Oct. 30. She owns the spa with her husband, Joseph Seltun. They also own the nearby Total Image Hair Salon, which has operated in the subway for more that 50 years.

TemplogoThe Seltuns' skin services out grew the treatment room at Total Image Salon and the Kahler offered them more space as another spa closed and sold off its equipment, said Hillary Seltun.

"It all just came together at the right time," she said. "It just made sense to expand."

The new center offers a full array of skin services including facials, Botox, massage, chemical peels, laser treatment, makeovers, spray tan and a eyelash/eyebrow bar. They also offer bridal packages in conjunction with the Kahler Hotel.

While some other spas in Rochester offer similar services, the Seltuns are comfortable with opening a new competitor.

"I feel like there is more than enough demand. And I think we're a little bit different," Hillary said. "We understand a woman's need to feel good as well as look good."

Being in the subway also may give them an edge.

"I feel like the subway system is kind of like its own a city within a city," she said. 

October 28, 2015

New Roch. substation planned for Epic, Mayo Clinic growth

Mayo Clinic's partnership with Epic Systems, the largest electronic medical records firm in the United States, is driving the construction of a new $6.1 million Rochester Public Utilities substation.

Epic_Systems_112109_SignVerona, Wis.-based Epic Systems has been negotiating with RPU since June about the project. Epic says it needs more power capacity in the area to support future growth of the Mayo Clinic Data Center at 4710 West Circle Drive. The new Douglas Trail substation is slated to be built by the data center on land currently owned by Mayo Clinic.

The RPU board approved a "memorandum of understanding" about the project with Epic at its Tuesday night meeting. An escrow account already has been set up to fund project.

The memorandum states, "Due to the planned transfer of selected Mayo Data Center assets to Epic, Epic requests incremental electrical capability and capacity, needed to accommodate projected business growth in forward years…"
Epic has agreed to pay for the majority of the $6.1 million project, with RPU contributing $1.016 million for additional features that Epic doesn't need. The agreement also allows for Epic to apply  Mayo4710technologyparkfor up to $2.03 million in rebates over 10 years. The goal is to have the new substation up and running at least by April 1, 2017.

Rochester attorney Mark Utz spoke to the board as a representative of Epic. He said the deal  "Provides capacity not just for Epic, but a tremendous opportunity for the city of Rochester … to have a third substation in an incredible quadrant for Rochester. This is a win/win for the community, for RPU and for Epic."

Bruce Richards, Epic's director of facilities and engineering, assured the board his company is serious about coming to Rochester.

"This is a long-term situation for us. We're bringing in quite a few people to town," he said. "We'll start out with 80 to 90 people to the data center to work with Mayo Clinic."

Richards told the RPU board the additional capacity is needed for the potential that the current data center could grow to three times its current size.

Mayo Clinic built the $33.7 million, 60,000-square-foot computer support center in 2012. The data center was built to support all three of Mayo Clinic's campuses — Rochester, Jacksonville, Fla., and Scottsdale, Ariz.

"Epic is expected to take title of the property nominally in December 2015, with site grading to begin in spring 2016, according to the RPU/Epic agreement. The agreement also states that, "It is contemplated that the City of Rochester, for the benefit of RPU, will acquire from Epic the title of the real estate where the substation and related infrastructure will be located.

Richards did not elaborate on what Epic plans to do at Mayo Data Center, though remote hosting medical records is a possibility. In recent years, Epic built a massive data center in Verona, Wis. to offer remote medical record hosting for its clients.

6a00d83451cc8269e201b7c791bc82970b-800wiEpic and Mayo Clinic began working together early this year, when Mayo chose Epic to handle Mayo Clinic's electronic medical records. The relationship is developing into a close collaboration. Mayo's Chief Administration Officer Jeff Bolton has said that Epic has shown "a strong interest" in being part of the planned Discovery Square development in downtown Rochester. Discovery Square is part of Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center initiative.

Epic has about 8,000 employees and had $1.8 billion in revenues in 2014. Epic's software already is used by about 350 health-care organizations that care for 54 percent of U.S. patients.

Mayo Clinic is not Epic's only major partner in northwest Rochester. In May, IBM Watson Health, the health care unit of IBM, announced it has begun working with Epic as well as Mayo Clinic to add the Watson' super computer's cognitive capabilities to electronic health records. It's not clear if IBM is involved in the West Circle Drive data center project.

October 09, 2015

Cheap chic coming to the heart of the Med City

Cheap chic is coming to the heart of downtown Rochester.

Primp, a popular boutique with six Twin Cities stores, is slated to open a Rochester location in November, before the holidays.

09102015primpsiteCo-owner Michele Henry says the first Primp shop outside of the metro area is moving into the high-profile Peace Plaza space on the corner of 100 First Ave. SW. That's the storefront where O&B Shoes sold footwear until it moved less than a block away to 19 First Ave. SW in August.

"We were looking at a lot of places. But when this space came, we dropped all of the other locations," Henry said. "There is such a great energy in downtown Rochester."

Darci Fenske of Paramark Real Estate Services brokered the deal to bring Primp into the Rochester market

Michele Henry and Wesley Uthus launched the first Primp store just five years ago, when they were both 25-years-old. The idea was simple: to offer inexpensive, fun fashion.

"Our whole tagline is 'Cheap, chic boutique.' Everything is under $100. Most are under $50 and we put new things out every day," Henry said.

Primp carries a full array of women's apparel, from fancy dresses to denim and sweaters. Primp also stocks plenty of accessories, like handbags, jewelry and scarves.

Moving beyond the Twin Cities is a big step, but Henry and Uthus are very excited about coming to the Med City, Henry said, adding that many Primp customers, as well as employees, have been asking them to come to Rochester for a while.

Now they have a high-profile location in the center of the city. The next step is to prepare the store and hire a team of 10 fashionable employees.


October 08, 2015

Will sale of North Broadway building attract developers?

The sale of a building on Broadway Avenue North clears the way for future development on a prominent block.

08102015MLT1Mike Pruett, co-owner of MLT Groupwhich is in the building, said he sold the 140-year-old brick structure that he owns with his wife, Dawn, at 411 Broadway Ave. N, on Wednesday. Real estate investor Les Nelsonof Clear Lake, Iowa, purchased it for $600,000, Pruett said.

"I'm happy with the price I got," he said. The Pruetts bought the building for $235,000 in 2003.

Nelson now owns most of that side of the 400 block of Broadway. He recently demolished two nearby empty buildings at 401 Broadway Ave. N and 407 Broadway Ave. N to make the area more attractive for developers.  08102015MLT2

After the demolitions, the Pruetts' building stood alone in the middle of the block. Amid the hype of the Destination Medical Center initiative, Rochester real estate prices have skyrocketed in recent months. Pruett's location made his building more valuable, since it is an obstacle that could keep developers away from the block. 

Besides housing the Pruetts' businesses, MLT Group and MLT Video, the building also has four apartments. All four currently have tenants. However, one has a lease until Dec. 31, while the three others are month-to-month.

After the tenant's lease ends in December, Pruett expects Nelson to knock down the building.

He plans to move MLT Group, which he owns with partner Ted St. Mane, and MLT Video to a business condo in the Plaza 14 West center at 4481 North Frontage Road. Pruett hopes to build out the unfinished 11,090-square-foot space and move the businesses at the end of November.

"It will be nice to have a change and a newer facility, though it's a little sad," he said.

Pruett said the new offices should work out well for his team of 10 to 12 employees, because it will have more usable space than the current building.  

October 06, 2015

Rochester co-op manager moves up to CEO job

People’s Food Co-op has named the Rochester store manager Lizzy Haywood to serve as the organization's CEO and general manager.

Haywood, who has led the Rochester store since it opened in 2013, took over the role on Sept. 28. She is now based in La Crosse, Wis. at the People's Food Co-op headquarters and original store. 

115840_7644_339_lizzy_haywood"The Rochester store manager position has been posted and we are accepting applications," said People's Marketing Director Ann Mull on Tuesday.

Haywood had been serving as interim CEO and general manager since Aug.19, when the previous CEO Michelle Schry resigned to take another job. Prior to coming to Rochester, she was the general manager at the Bluff County Co-op in Winona.

The People's Food Co-op in La Crosse merged with Rochester's Good Food Store in 2011. The organization then moved the cooperative into downtown Rochester.  The almost 27,000 square-foot People's Food Co-op opened on the main level of Rochester's Metropolitan Market Place complex at 519 First Ave. SW in 2013. 

The La Crosse organization is one of the 25 largest food cooperatives in the U.S. It has more than 8,000 member families in Rochester and La Crosse and annual revenues of $25 million.

September 17, 2015

Cocktails on the way at Mac's Restaurant

Diners at a popular Rochester eatery will soon find something new on the menu - cocktails.

Mac's Cafe and Restaurant, which has been cooking for more than 60 years on the Peace Plaza, recently was given a full liquor license. That means it can add mixed drinks to the beer and wine it already offers.

5177285Owner George Psomas says this addition is all about offering more choices, not changing the restaurant's family-friendly atmosphere.

"We're not going to be bar. We're just adding a few high-end drinks," he said. "The people have been calling for it. We're just giving the people what they want."

Expect the selections to reflect Mac's Greek heritage. Instead of a Bloody Mary, they plan to serve a Bloody Athena.

Adding cocktails to the mix is one of a few recent update for Mac's. It's Peace Plaza exterior received an extensive face-lift this summer. Plus he rolled out a new Mac's food truck, which has been making the rounds at Rochester events.

Psomas says he's fine-tuning a new offering for the food truck menu, but he's keeping the details of the new cultural combination under wraps until it's ready.

"It's going to be amazing. People that have tried it love it," he said.

September 09, 2015

Is Shefzilla invading Rochester?

Is a top Twin Cities chef set to trek down to Rochester and start cooking?

It looks that way, i Stewart_woodman_cover_560f media reports are correct.

After 12 years as an award-winning chef at many top Twin Cities eateries, Stewart "Shefzilla" Woodman is coming to the Med City to work as the top food expert at the Kahler Hospitality Group, according to an Eater Minneapolis article.

Woodman is known for launching such Twin Cities foodie spots like Five Restaurant & Street Lounge, Heidi’s and the Workshop. He also is known for his cookbook, "Conquering Haute Cuisine at Home."
Representatives from the Kahler hotels were not available to confirm the reports this morning.

However, an Easter article published last week quoted Woodman as responding to queries about his future with the cryptic message, "Rochester I am going to." The man known as "Shefzilla" had been teasing Twin Cities media with Tweets alluding to his leaving his position at Kaskaid Hospitality.

He had been working at Haskaid overseeing Crave, Urban Eatery, Union and the Workshop since 2014. His last day there was Sept. 4, according to Woodman.

He told Eater that he is taking over management of the culinary operations of the Kahler Grand Hotel and its sister hotels. The Kahler Hospitality Group's restaurants include The Grand Grill, Salute, Martini's, Crossings Bistro, Lord Essex, Freshens and Dunkin Donut.

The Kahler Hospitality Group has been tweaking its restaurants in recent years to keep up with the increasingly competitive Rochester food scene.

Some of Woodman's accolades over the years include being named one of Food & Wines "Best New Chefs" as well as twice being a semifinalist for the best Midwest chef award from the James Beard Foundation.

September 01, 2015

Celyad, Medisun collaborating on new China deal

Two international firms with deep Mayo Clinic and Rochester ties are joining forces for a new $22.4 million collaboration. 

Belgium-based Celyad, formerly called Cardio3, announced Monday it's entering into a new venture and distribution deal with its partner, Medisun International Limited, for its C-Cure cardiac treatment. C-Cure is based on stem-cell technology called cardiopoiesis licensed from Mayo Clinic.

CelyadBoth Celyad and the Hong Kong-based Medisun continue to collaborate with Mayo Clinic and both are in the process of creating facilities in Rochester.

This new 15-year agreement between Celyad and Medisun guarantees Celyad will "conduct all clinical development and undertake any regulatory steps necessary for market approval in China, Hong-Kong, Taiwan and Macau (collectively 'Greater China')," according to a news release about the venture.

Medisun will fund that push with a minimum of 20 million Euros, or $22.4 million. In addition to the funding cash, Celyad will collect royalties and profit sharing. The royalty rates, based on the total revenues from C-Cure, are expected to range from 10 percent to 30 percent. Profit-sharing amounts will be based on total revenues after royalties are taken out. The profit sharing is expected to range from 20 to 25 percent.

"We are pleased to have this new license agreement in place with our local partner Medisun, which give us full control over clinical developments in these territories, fully funded by our local partner. Pending receipt of necessary approvals, we look forward to giving access to this technology to patients in Greater China," stated Celyad CEO Christian Homsy in the release.

6a00d83451cc8269e201b8d0c98293970c-120wiCelyad is paying rent on the entire fifth floor, or 14,963 square feet, in the city of Rochester's Minnesota Biobusiness Center. The city signed a lease with Celyad earlier this year for it to develop a prototype manufacturing facility in the downtown building. Construction has been underway for months, but is not yet completed. The five-year lease calls for Celyad 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.

Local officials hope to convince Celyad to build a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility with 350 employees in Rochester, according to officials at Rochester Area Economic Development Inc.  Celyad also has plans to build a U.S. headquarters in Boston.

The company recently reported a $17.04 million loss for the first half of 2015. It lost $18.1 million for the whole year in 2014, up from $15.9 million in losses in 2013. Dr. Homsy told Reuters last week the company has enough cash to make it through the end of 2017.

The company did an initial public stock offering in 2014, which yielded about $500,000 worth of shares for Mayo Clinic.

Medisun also is collaborating with Mayo Clinic on a project to bring more patients from China to Rochester for treatment. While Medisun began building a $1 million office in the H3 Plaza building in downtown Rochester earlier this year, it recently put an end to that project.

Mayo Clinic, however, has confirmed it still is working with Medisun. Mayo Clinic spokeswoman Duska Anastasijevic said she didn't believe "the scope and nature of the relationship has been impacted or altered, just the planned location of their offices has changed." 

She added that Mayo staff working with Medisun said the company will be using one of its Rochester homes as "a guest house" and headquarters for the project. Medisun CEO Danny Wong personally owns two houses in Rochester. He bought a house at 2515 Crest Lane SW for $1.4 million as well as one at 615 10th Ave. SW for $1.31 million. It is not known which property will serve as the guest house.

August 28, 2015

New business is sign of the times in Rochester

There are signs of a new business on the way for North Broadway.

Andy Anderson of Austin has a banner up for a new Fastsigns location coming soon at 200 N. Broadway in the Dison's Cleaners Center.

08272015fastsignsWhile the Fastsigns name is very familiar in the Twin Cities, this will be the Carrollton, Texas-based chain's first appearance in southeastern Minnesota.

"They have been looking to expand into Rochester. With Destination Medical Center, they anticipate growth here will be incredible," said Anderson, who is the co-owner and onsite operator. He's partnering with Gene Clement.

The plan is to start the build out of the location in September and hopefully open in the fall or early winter. He expects to start with three on staff, including himself.

That 1,500-square-foot space was last occupied by the women's clothing resale store called Nu On U, which closed in September. For Med City old timers, that's the spot that previously housed Wireless Toyz and Hobbit Travel back before that.

The real estate deal was handled by Al Watts of Wilson Watts Commercial Real Estate and Bucky Beeman of Realty Growth Inc. The center is owned by Tasos Psomas' Skiathos LLC.

Fastsigns is known for offering a wide array of printed products ranging from banners, signs, vehicle wraps down to flyers and business cards. It's main focus is business-to-business, though it can also handle typical consumer projects.

"We do can anything that a business might need," said Anderson. "Our big things are quality and a very quick turnaround time."