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1615 posts categorized "Early info/ more to come"

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.

April 03, 2014

Does Mayo Clinic have plans for Shoppes on Maine?

Mayo Clinic seems to be looking to south Rochester for a future project, even though there's no official word yet.

Tom Hexum, of Maine Street Development Co. of Rochester, filed a Land Development Application on March 11 for a 22,000-square-foot "commercial building with parking" at the corner of Canal Place Southeast and Maine Avenue Southeast. That puts the building near Fat Willy's Bar and Grill and across Maine Avenue from the commercial center anchored by Lowe's.

Mayo buildingThe proposed building would be situated on two acres and have 109 parking spaces. Plans call for a half circle drive in front for loading and unloading at the building's entrance, which would be covered with an 880-square-foot canopy.

Hexum and Maine Street have been the local driving force behind development in the Shoppes on Maine area from its start. Most of their previous projects had future tenants identified before any construction began. But this new development application doesn't name any tenant.

However, Mayo Clinic enters the picture when the application was studied by city staff. The Department of Planning and Zoning and the Department of Public Works describe the building as the "proposed Mayo Clinic facility" in letters on May 14 and May 24. Those letters denied the application until a variety of site-related issues are addressed.

Despite being named by city officials, Mayo Clinic would neither confirm nor deny any specific plans in the Shoppes on Maine area.

"We are exploring options to improve our ability to improve access to community care for our employees and those who depend on us for these services," said Rebecca Eisenman, of Mayo Clinic's Communications Dept. "Future options may include expansion of facilities and services in southeast Minnesota, but no specific details are available at this time."

While the first application for this building was denied, it seems likely that Rochester design firm Yaggy Colby will be able to address the issues and get the development approved.

We'll just need to watch how it plays out and listen to what Mayo Clinic has to say about it.

April 02, 2014

New Roch. Menards to open April 8

Rochester's new northside Menards store will open its doors at 6:30 a.m. April 8.

The newly completed $12 million store near the intersection of U.S. 52 and 65th Street Northwest will replace its old store at 5150 U.S. 52 North. That store is prepared to shift to close-out mode and will remain open for a while after the 65th Street store opens.

Menards also has a south Rochester store at 3000 S. Broadway.

The new 90,000-square-foot store is on 35 acres, with an additional 40 acres available for development by other businesses. Planned for years, the project wMenards-Logoas delayed while waiting for a proposed U.S. 52 interchange at 65th Street Northwest to be built. The interchange recently was constructed with funding from a portion of the local-option sales tax revenue.

“We appreciate all the loyal customers who continued to shop at Menards through the years and
look forward to opening this new store," store manager Eric Ritter said in a company announcement. "Everyone has been working really hard for weeks in preparation of opening the doors to better serve the community with all the latest, greatest home improvement products.”

The new store includes a full-service lumber yard, a garden center, appliances, pet supplies and convenience grocery items. An official grand opening for the new store will be scheduled for a later date.

Eau Claire, Wis.-based Menards operates 286 home improvement stores in 14 Midwestern states.

Once the existing Menards facility at 5150 U.S. 52 North closes, two Rochester retailers plan to upgrade the building and move their businesses into it. Jim Sather and Mark Byer, who own the Furniture Superstore Factory Outlet and America's Mattress stores, hope to move forward with that project as soon as possible.

March 05, 2014

Sam's Club planning 2nd Rochester store

After years of unofficial buzz, retail giant Walmart confirmed this week that it wants to open a second Sam's Club store in Rochester.

No details, such as where it could be located or when it might be built, are yet available from the Bentonville, Ark.-based company. Rochester currently has a pair of Walmart Supercenter stores on the north and south sides of the city as well as a Sam's Club warehouse store by the north location.
6a00d83451cc8269e201774450e4eb970d-800wi-2
There has long been talk that a south Sam's Club complex could be built in the Shoppes on Maine area, possibly near the 48th Street exit.

“We are always looking for opportunities to better serve our Rochester customers and are making plans to add a second Sam’s Club to serve the growing need among area customers who want to buy wholesale merchandise in bulk at affordable prices,” stated Delia Garcia, Walmart's director of communications by email this week.

Walmart opened its 136,000-square-foot north Sam's Club at 3410 55th St. N.W. in 1993 along with its north Walmart store. The south Walmart store opened in 2000, along South U.S. 63.

Sam's Club was Rochester's sole warehouse member store until Costco opened its own 150,000-square-foot discount club store plus gas station here in 2012. Rochester's Sam's Club underwent a $3.5 million remodel just months after Costco's opening.

While Walmart is the undisputed champion in the discount retail niche, Costco is the leader in the  $390 billion warehouse club industry. Costco generated $102 billion in sales last year, while Sam's Club tallied $57 billion in revenue.

The recent excitement spurred by Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center initiative has drawn more developers and chains here.

While the city has grown, one retail expert doesn't believe that it's large enough yet to justify Sam's Club adding a second store.

"It makes no sense at all," commented David P. Brennan, a professor of marketing at St. Thomas University in St. Paul and co-director of the university's Institute for Retailing Excellence. "In regard to Rochester because of its size and relative ease of getting around, you don't need two stores to cover a market that size.It just doesn't make sense."

Sam's Club has nine stores in the Twin Cities area and each does about $65 million to $75 million in business a year, according to Brennan. Costco has six stores in the metro region. Each of its stores move an estimated $120 million to $130 million in merchandise a year.

Walmart's plan is to open between 17 to 22 new clubs this fiscal year. It's also planning to ramp up its presence in China. However, it also plans to cut about 2,300 jobs at Sam's stores.

While he believes Rochester is "more of a Costco market than a Sam's market," Brennan concedes that the larger southeastern Minnesota area might be a different story.

"In terms of regional draw, Sam's may be a better fit for that," he said.

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 28, 2014

Mayo Clinic to ramp up link to Dept. of Defense

My colleague Jeff Hansel is writing an article about Mayo Clinic opening an office called Mayo Clinic Department of Defense Medical Research Office to better connect with Dept. of Defense for contracts and research.

Watch for Jeff's article on this soon.

I've touched on this topic in past years, so I dug up some info about recent DOD contracts with Mayo.

MayodefenseSince 2000, Mayo Clinic in Rochester has received about $41 million from the DOD. About $37 million of that $41 million was paid out for "Research and Development - Missile/Space Systems - Advanced Development," according to federal government records.

The majority of that work is done at the Dept. of Defense Medical Research Office, which is in the Mayo Support Center on West Circle Drive. That office has long been spearheaded by Dr. Barry K. Gilbert.

Some of the recent projects, according to federal contract records, include:

• R&D Services for Development and Demonstration of Capabilities of Hybrid Supercomputer

• Development of Ultra-High Linearity X-Band Mixers

• Study of Energy Harvesting Concepts, Evaluation of Quantum Orbital Magnetic Resonance Technologies

•R&D Services for Study of Energy Harvesting System Concepts

• Optical Communications: Monte Carlo Model - Preparation of Full-Scale Optical Communications Test.

I can't pretend to know what much of that means, though I believe the hybrid computer deal has something to do with immunizations and fighting virulent outbreaks. The optical communcations, I think, has something to do with transmitting medical information between hospital sites.

I confess this side of Mayo has always fascinated me. Hopefully, the creation of this new office will mean more of a spotlight will shine on Mayo Clinic's interesting military work.

January 21, 2014

Apache Mall applies to develop Scheels store, new restaurant

Here's some from an article I have in today's paper about Scheels, Sears, the Apache Mall plus plans for a new stand-alone restaurant by the water tower in front of the mall.

The full article will be on www.postbulletin.com and, of course, in print.

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

The hole left by the departure of Sears from Apache Mall appears likely to be filled by a Scheels All Sports store.

Plans to expand the mall's anchor spot to make way for the popular sporting retailer were submitted to the Rochester-Olmsted Planning Department last week. The plans also call for construction of a stand-alone restaurant nearby.

Scheelsmap1The plans show the now-closed two-story Sears store being partially demolished and expanded to 149,000 square feet for Scheels. Construction could close the mall parking lot roadway in front of the store, which would require a temporary road.

The development proposal also includes a new 9,000-square-foot restaurant building on the north side of the mall roadway near the Scheels project. The proposed building would be on the east side of the city water tower. While it's labeled as a restaurant, no specific name appears in the documents.
Scheelsmap2
Officials from the Apache Mall declined to comment on either the Scheels project or the new restaurant. On Friday, Jason Loney, Scheels' vice president of store development, said a final agreement had not been finalized between the North Dakota retailer and the mall. It's not unusual for participants in a development deal to delay signing until all official approvals are obtained

January 16, 2014

Downtown parking lot sells for $2.8M

Developers continue to jockey for position in downtown Rochester, with the latest move being Titan Development's $2.8 million purchUSbanklotase of a large parking lot.

Rochester's Titan, the organization spearheaded by Andy and Gus Chafoulias, bought the 1.4-acre lot at 402 First Ave. S.W. from U.S. Bank on Dec. 31. It's a large piece of open land next to US Bank's downtown branch.

"It's an important piece of real estate as it relates to the urban village development in that area, but we don't really have a plan for it at the moment," said John Beltz, Titan's vice president of brand management and development.

WordsplayerstheaterThis buy enhances Titan's position in that part of downtown. The local firm also bought the Words Players youth theater building, just around the corner at 12 Fourth St. S.W. Beltz described it as "a forward thinking investment," when it happened at last summer. The 63-year-old building cost $400,000.

"There's no question that it (the U.S. Bank lot combined with the Words Players building) assembles a very important piece of downtown that we want to do something constructive with and something complimentary to the downtown master plan as we go forward," said Beltz. "But what that looks like, we just don't know yet."

U.S. Bank's branch at 401 First Ave. S.W. sits at the center of that "very important piece of downtown." And the bank plans to remain there.

"The branch will continue to operate with parking and drive-through banking access," said Pat Swanson, U.S. Bank's spokesman in response to emailed questions.

In fact, U.S. Bank even has permit applications in the pipeline to renovate the 37-year old brick building. The branch has 15 employees based there.

Does being surrounded by possible future development cause U.S. Bank any concern about the future of its branch?

"We’re pleased to see growth and development in Rochester," responded Swanson by email.