News Business Sports Entertainment Life Obituaries Opinion
Jobs Homes Cars Classifieds Shopping

Search PB Blogs

Loading

Categories

1656 posts categorized "Early info/ more to come"

January 12, 2016

Colorful downtown Mexican restaurant goes dark

It looks like El Loro has flown from Rochester as the Mexican eatery on Fourth Street Southeast has been dark for days. 

El-loro-logoEl Loro, which translates to The Parrot, opened in the old Chicago Great Western train depot at 20 Fourth St. SE in 2012. It is owned by Marcos Gomez, who owns a number of other Mexican restaurants in Minnesota with his brother.

The restaurant now sits closed and has been that way for days. Details of the closure are unknown, as Gomez has been unavailable for comment at his other restaurants.

The El Loro website lists restaurants in Bloomington, Burnsville, Savage and Hutchinson. Rochester recently has been removed from the list.

El Loro's abrupt closure comes on the heels of the building's recent sale.

The 115-year-old depot building was purchased for $800,00 in November by a collection of local and out-of-state investors under the name of The Med City Restaurant Group.

Realtor Nick Pompeian of Realty Growth Inc., who handled the deal, said the new owners had no plans to change anything and hope to keep a restaurant operating in the building.

"They just saw this as a good opportunity to own a piece of downtown," he said at the end of December.

So whatever happens next, it seems likely that a restaurant eventually will fill t 01112016depotplaquehe depot again. However, it's unclear how soon something like that could happen.

Before  El Loro, it housed another Mexican restaurant. In 2001, Jorge Ocegueda opened Dos Amigos in the depot. In 2011, he revamped the eatery and renamed it as Paseo del Rio. Paseo del Rio had a short run and soon was replaced by El Loro in 2012.

The depot originally was built in 1899 by Winona & Southwestern Railroad at the intersection of First Avenue and Second Street Southeast. Two years later, the line was sold to Chicago Great Western, which moved the building north across the river in 1903 by cutting it in two, placing each half on a flat rail car, and reassembling it at 19 Second St. SE.

In 1949, the structure was remodeled to also serve as a terminal for the Jefferson Bus Lines. The last passenger train left the depot in 1950, but Jefferson remained until 1987.

It then was sold to the city and slated for demolition until a "Save the Depot" citizens group temporarily moved it near the power plant at 533 First Ave. N.E. It was moved across the street a year later to allow Marigold Foods, now Kemps, to expand.

In 1997, Bruce Kreofsky & Sons acquired it at no cost from the City of Rochester. Kreofsky renovated it and moved it to the current location. Rochester Depot LLCof Plainview, which is connected to Kreofsky, acquired it at no cost in September 2010.

 

January 05, 2016

Credit union buys land for new branch

A Wisconsin credit union with plans to build a second Rochester branch recently bought a parcel of land for $1.25 million.

Altra Federal Credit Union bought land on Dec. 14 in the Chateau Circle commercial development at 55th Street Northwest and Chateau Road. That means the new branch will be located near the Walgreens drug store planned for that area.

O"We've been looking for a new spot to build a new full-service branch for quite a while," said Cheryl Dutton, vice president of marketing of the La Crosse, Wis.-based credit union. "The Rochester market is a very important market to us."

While the land is acquired, Dutton said the project still is in the initial stages, so there's no timeline yet.

Altra opened its first Rochester branch in 2012 at 123 16th Ave. SW in the Shoppes on Second development. It now has five on staff.

"The growth has been exceptional. However, it's a very small office in a very busy strip mall. To service our members better, we'd like to build a larger branch, usually 4,000 to 5,000 square feet," she said.

The credit union is aware residents in the Chateau Circle area have voiced some concerns about the commercial development in their neighborhood.

"We plan to be very good neighbors," said Dutton. "We think it's going to be a great area for us."

Altra began in 1931 as the Trane Employees Credit Union with a history similar to that of the IBM Mid-America Credit Union, which became Think Federal Credit Union. It has Minnesota branches in La Crescent and Winona. Overall, it has 17 locations in eight states.

December 08, 2015

Change is on the menu for Lost Cajun

Looks like change is on the menu at Rochester's only Cajun eatery.

Joe and Theresa Peplinski's Lost Cajun restaurant at 2025 S Broadway didn't open its doors Monday. Signs out front and posted on the windows said the restaurant said, "Sorry. We're closed for remodeling. Stay Tuned..."

12072015lostcajunHowever, employees said they were notified by email Sunday night that the restaurant is closed for good. The Rochester restaurant is no longer listed as a location on the national Lost Cajun website. The Peplinkis also canceled advertisements by email, saying that the restaurant had "closed its doors."

The owners were not available for comment on Monday.

If the Lost Cajun is done, it's possible that another restaurant concept under new owners is in the works. That could explain the "remodeling" signs. At this point, it seems Rochester diners will need to do as the sign says and "stay tuned."

In the early summer of 2014, the Rochester couple was very optimistic when they opened The Lost Cajun. The southern flavored restaurant is a franchise based on the original Lost Cajun in Colorado.

They transformed a 19-year-old former SuperAmerica convenience store into a 1,900-square-foot  restaurant with a bayou decor.

The Lost Cajun is known for serving up gumbo, beignets, chicory coffee, po' boy sandwiches and other authentic Louisiana dishes. 

November 02, 2015

$56 million deal in 'one of our largest markets'

A North Dakota real-estate firm purchased Rochester's Grandeville at Cascade Lake for $56 million today.

Investors Real Estate Trust said this morning that it officially wrapped up the purchase of the 276-unit multifamily community. It announced in August that a purchase agreement for the 8-year-old property had been signed with LeCesse Development Corp. of Florida.

Nav-mobile-website-cascade-lake-rochester-mn-apartments-rent-apt-best_r1_c1Grandville is now IRET's 10th housing property in Rochester.

"We are excited to add GrandeVille to IRET's Rochester portfolio. Its convenient location and substantial amenities enhance the choices we offer to tenants and solidify our presence in Rochester," stated IRET's Vice President of Investments Matt Volpano in a press release this morning.

IRET long has been an active investor in Rochester. It now owns more than 1,300 housing units in 10 properties, including Quarry Ridge, Olympik Village and Sunset Trail.

"Rochester is one of our largest markets," said Volpano previously. "From our standpoint, it continues our strategy. DMC just improves upon an already strong market."

6a00d83451cc8269e201b8d1642d62970c-800wiIRET even is looking into building its own development in Rochester, on land it owns near 41st Street Northwest and West Circle Drive.

Volpano says plans have been drawn up for a potential project. The company is investigating whether it makes financial sense to move forward with it.

Today's deal is the largest real estate sale in Rochester for 2015. It tops the previous largest sale of the year, which also involved IRET.

IRET sold Maplewood Square shopping center in northwest Rochester for $15 million. The center, anchored by Best Buy, Fareway Foods and Ashley Furniture, was purchased by SGO MN Maplewood LLC, of San Mateo, Calif. The sale was part of a larger deal that included 15 IRET commercial properties, which sold for a total of $79 million.

The North Dakota firm previously announced that it is getting out of shopping centers to focus solely on housing properties.

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 26, 2015

What's Mayo Clinic's plan for its new technology park?

Mayo4710technologyparkMayo Clinic is moving dirt and dividing up some open land by its Rochester data center at 4710 West Circle Dr. N.W.

However, details are sparse about the future of the site.

Mayo Clinic has submitted plans to the city for a "4710 Technology Park," a 22.5 acre tusk-shaped chunk of land north of the 4710 data center building.

The permit says:

 Final Plat #R2015-030PLAT to be known as 4710 Technology Park. The Plat proposes to subdivide three lots and one block for commercial development. The property is located at 4710 West Circle Dr NW.

I started asking Mayo Clinic about this project on Sept. 10. Mayo Clinic has not responded yet.
 
While no building is drawn on the plat, there are a series of driveways/st 10262015mayo4710techparkreets that curve around a space on Plot 2, that would seem to be designed to provide access to some sort of facility.
 
Mayo Clinic has certainly shown a lot of interest in that northwest area of the Med City for the past several years.
 
In 2000, it purchased a facility that Western Digital built at 4001 41st St. N.W.That became the Mayo Support Center, which houses Mayo Clinic's Dept. of Defense Medical Research Office spearheaded by Dr. Barry K. Gilbert.
 
In 2004, it bought a nearby complex at 3050 Superior Drive from Celestica. That eventually became the Superior Drive Support Center, which houses Mayo Medical Labs.
 
Mayo Clinic then built the 4710 Building, a data center, in 2012. It stands just north of the Mayo Support Center.
 
And now it is carving out a 4710 Technology Park by the 4710 Building.
 
In July, Mayo Clinic bought a nearby former mail processing center at 3939 Valleyhigh Drive. No word yet on how that will be used, though there is speculation that it could become a commercial laundry.

 

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 01, 2015

A Mayo Clinic linked firm working with DMC planner to develop new Madison biosciences hub

A firm with deep ties to Mayo Clinic is making a move to anchor a downtown Madison, Wis., biosciences hub with help from the development manager of Rochester's Destination Medical Center initiative.

Exact Sciences Corp. licensed technology from Mayo Clinic in 2009 and 2012 for Cologuard, a stool-based DNA test for colorectal cancer. The test is based on research by Mayo Clinic's Dr. David A. Ahlquist and his laboratory.

LogoOriginally based in Boston, city officials at one point hoped Exact would move to Rochester. However, Madison gave the company $1 million to move its headquarters there in 2009.

Since then, the company has flourished, and now it's planning to build a new $200 million, 250,000-square-foot headquarters in downtown Madison with $46.7 million in financial aid from the city.The Madison City Council recently OKed the deal, which requires that Exact will have 400 employees in the building by 2019.

The developer of the project is JDS Development LLC, which is a joint venture between Hammes Co. and Majestic Realty. Hammes is the Wisconsin consultant that is in charge of DMC. It also is working directly with Mayo Clinic on the Discovery Square portion of the DMC project. Hammes also has been hired by the Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau to do a feasibility study for the proposed hockey arena to house a possible US Hockey League team here.

Hammesco_blue_logoHammes' Exact development will include a 250 room hotel, a food court, health and wellness facility, conference and media centers and lots of room for retail and restaurants.

Exact CEO Kevin Conroy told the Madison City Council that, "We hope that by having a life science company headquarters in downtown Madison, it will spur economic development throughout the region and have a positive impact on downtown."

September 15, 2015

High-profile 2nd Street property sold for residence

After years of being up for sale, a long-time Second Street Southwest business recently sold for $272,000.

On Sept. 1, Dick Saterdalen sold the 64-year-old house at 2120 Second St. S.W. where he lives and operates Dick's Auto Sales. He also previously ran the Liquidation Store at the site. He sold the property to Abdullah M. Aljaberi, according Olmsted County property records.
51e9e3ce23dbb.image
Saterdalen says he will continue to run Dick's Auto Sales at the site until Dec. 1, when he will move the operation to a small farm on Rochester's Viola Road.

Aljaberi is reportedly planning to renovate the house and use it as a residence, according to Saterdalen.

That Second Street house/storefront was in the news in 2013, when the City of Rochester began its $7 million re-construction of the area now dubbed as "Uptown." When a new median was built in front of the property, the 24-year-old business lost its direct left-turn access as well as on-street parking spaces.

Saterdalen complained that the Uptown project killed a deal he had with a bank that wanted to buy his property.  He also protested the assessment that the city charged him for the project.

Overall, Saterdalen blamed Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center Initiative for forcing his old-fashioned business/residence off of Second Street.

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.