The first tenant is expected to move into downtown Rochester's latest office building development in December, though the entire seven-story complex is not expected to be completed until the spring.
Titan Development and Investments, of Rochester, is building the $17 million building now called H3 Plaza at 300 S. Broadway. Construction began in March, when Titan demolished the former C.O. Brown building that previously stood on the site. H3 is a reference to Rochester's Historic Third Street, which is directly across Broadway from the building.
Titan will be the building's first tenant, with plans to fill the sixth floor with its offices in December. Titan, led by Andy and Gus Chafoulias, has about 25 employees working out of the Minnesota Biobusiness Center on First Avenue Southwest.
"We'll have it ready by then," said Joe Fort, project supervisor for Weis Builders, last week, as he stood inside the bare beams on the sixth floor and a crew of about 45 of his workers and local subcontractors worked around him. Fort expects to have the building enclosed and weather-tight before the full force of winter hits. That will allow them to work through the colder months to complete the first through fifth floors.
All but 6,000 square feet of the 43,000-square-foot building is already leased to local tenants, said Titan marketing and communications manager Shelia Thoma. That available space is divided between the second and third floors of the H3 Plaza.
The Nova Restaurant Group, which is led by Scott Foster and Pat Woodring, will fill the street level with an authentic Italian eatery as well as a rooftop patio bar and grill on the seventh floor. The rooftop patio will tower over Rochester's two nearby roof bars, Kathy's Pub and The Tap House.
Foster and Woodring have worked with Gus Chafoulias in the past, when they opened Chester's Kitchen & Bar in his Shops at University Square building in 2008 and Pescara in his DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in 2009. They haven't named the H3 restaurants yet, though they do hope to open the Italian place in the spring.
Side-by side elevators will take people to the rooftop patio, even when the businesses in the building are closed. H3 Plaza will be connected to the adjacent City Centre complex and the Holiday Inn skyway.
Med City Dental and Dunlap & Seeger law firm, two businesses being displaced from the Associated Bank Building at 206 S. Broadway, have leased space in the H3 Plaza. The dental office, owned by Dr. Fred Carlson, will be located on the second floor, and the law firm, Rochester's largest, will occupy half of the third floor and all of the fourth and fifth floors.
Developer Bloom International Realty of Abu Dhabi plans to demolish the Associated Bank building in 2015 and possibly build a high-end hotel.
Andy Chafoulias originally envisioned developing the H3 Plaza site as a three-story restaurant and entertainment venue in 2013. That plan evolved as information about Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center initiative came out, along with the re-development plans for the Associated Bank building.
The Rochester City Council approved a special redevelopment tax-increment-financing district to raise $300,000 for Titan to cover the asbestos removal and demolition of the former C.O. Brown building. The council also prematurely labeled the H3 development as a DMC project.
Assistant City Administrator Gary Neumann said that since the DMC Corp. board of directors needs to approve any project before the start of construction, the H3 development doesn't qualify. However, the council's order states that any leftover money from the tax increment financing for the project could rollover to any nearby approved DMC projects, such as the anticipated update of Historic Third Street.
The pay-as-you-go TIF essentially reimburses the annual taxes the developers will pay, once the project is complete. The earliest Titan could see a payment was estimated at 2016.
Another, much larger, Titan development planned for the corner of South Broadway and East Center Street could possibly qualify as a DMC project. Spearheaded by Gus Chafoulias, the preliminary plan presented to the City Planning and Zoning Commission in March showed a 24-story, mixed-used complex featuring retail and restaurants, a 184-unit Embassy Suites Hotel on 11 floors, 84 apartments on six floors and underground parking. It was called Broadway at Center at that point.
Thoma said that project, which now is called The Legacy, is undergoing changes.
"A redesign with the hotel plans is the reason we are still in the design phase," she said.