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258 posts categorized "Hotels and lodging"

July 30, 2014

Developer working on new projects in N.W. Roch.

A St. Paul-based developer is looking to follow up its first Med City project with a couple more in the increasingly active northwest quadrant.


TJL Development recently built a new 4,000-square-foot paint store for Sherwin-Williams in south Rochester, in front of the south ShopKo and Menards stores.

Now the firm is working on projects by the Costco complex in northwest Rochester.

"We're hopeful to soon finalize transactions for two free-standing buildings," said Jim Lavalle, principal of TJL Development.

If the deals work out as he hopes, TJL will construct a 2,500-square-foot building to be occupied by a co-branded coffee and food business as well as a 4,000-square-foot store for a national retailer. The developer would own the buildings and lease them to the tenants.

"Rochester is a great place to do business, is what we've found, and we'd like to do more business down there," said Lavalle of why his firm is working in the Med City.

These plans would just add to the flurry of construction already underway in front of Costco and Kwik Trip.

A new McDonald's restaurant is being built there to replace the older one on the U.S. 52 North Frontage Road. Construction also is buzzing along for a 77-room Comfort Inn and Suites and a 109-room Staybridge Suites in the same area.

Discount grocer, Aldi, also recently announced plans to build a 17,000-square-foot store within the same development, at the corner of 22nd Street Northwest and Commerce Drive.

The whole 108-acre area on the northeast corner of West Circle Drive and 19th Street Northwest is being developed by Northwest Investments, the real estate arm of Kwik Trip Inc. For years, Hans Zietlow of the La Crosse, Wis.-based Kwik Trip has said that spot is the "key property" on Rochester's west side.

With all of the dirt moving and walls going up, it looks like a lot of people agree with him. 

July 22, 2014

Bea's Kahler group reaches beyond Rochester's downtown

The Kahler Hospitality Group, the Rochester company led by Javon Bea, is checking out the hotel market beyond downtown.

15344_b1The local buzz for weeks has been that the Kahler group, which owns four hotels in downtown Rochester, is taking the reins at the Ramada Hotel & Conference Center at 1517 16th St. S.W.

While neither the KHG leadership nor Ramada team officially have admitted it, a recent Kahler email about catering changes seems to confirm that the hotels are now linked.

A mass email sent Monday by the Kahler group's new catering director included the Ramada logo among its hotel brands and it specifically pointed out that the Kahler's new policy opening its event spaces to outside caterers does not include the Ramada Hotel.

Chef Pasquale Presa, the Kahler's executive director of food and beverage operations, also includes the Ramada in the list of hotels under his management on his professional LinkedIn page. Local contractors also say that the Kahler group is talking to local builders about contracting for work on the Ramada complex.

The big unanswered question is whether the Kahler Hospitality Group has purchased the hotel from Rochester developers Dan and Terri Penz or if KHG has been contracted just to manage the Ramada facility.

No matter which is correct, the Kahler's involvement with the Ramada signals a major change for both organizations.

The Penzes also own the adjacent T.J. Maxx Shopping Center and Elcor Construction as well as other Rochester properties and businesses. They bought the hotel in January 2002 and changed its brand from Best Western to Ramada in 2004.

In 2011, the Penzes closed their hotel restaurant called Teresa's. That cleared the way for Joe Powers and his Powers Ventures firm to create new convention space within the hotel. At about the same time, Jim Nicholas leased space to open Wildwood Sports Bar in the Ramada complex. It's unclear what kind of impact, if any, the Kahler involvement in the hotel could have on the Powers and Wildwood operations.

On the other end of the deal, the Kahler Hospitality Group is a collection of five unidentified investors who bought the Kahler Grand Hotel, the Kahler Inn & Suites, the Marriott Rochester, the Residence Inn and the Textile Care Services industrial laundry for $230 million in 2012. Javon Bea, of Oronoco, is the well known public face of the organization.

In 2013, the Kahler group hired the Colorado-based Richfield Hospitality to manage the downtown hotels.

July 08, 2014

Cowboy Jacks now open on Broadway

The word is that Rochester's latest Western-themed eatery opened its doors and fired up the grill on Monday.

074After an extended build-out, Cowboy Jack’s is now cooking in the Wyndham Garden hotel at 1625 S. Broadway. That's the 145-unit hotel that was under the America's Best Value Inn and Suites brand from 2011 to November 2013.

Cowboy Jack's is a casual, American-style restaurant chain based in the Twin Cities.

The name and look of the hotel's bar and restaurant has morphed several times in the past few years. In 2008, it became Macho Nacho. Later it transformed into Ron's Place, which then became The Fieldhouse.

The Wayzata-based Bay Ridge Properties own the 40-year-old hotel. Bay Ridge purchased it in February 2012 for $4.8 million.

July 05, 2014

Courtesy Inn going down = Fairfield Inn going up

Demolition of the Courtesy Inn is picking up speed to clear the way for a new hotel to be built in northwest Rochester.

07042014courtesyinnOnce the old 44-room Courtesy Inn is torn down, a group of local investors will start construction of a 91-room, four-story Fairfield Inn & Suites hotel on the site at 510 17th Ave. N.W. That's near the Miracle Mile Shopping Center.

Parts of the Courtesy Inn date to 1952, when Marcel Prow opened Prow's Hotel.

The local investors are led by Nick Pompeian and Harshal Patel.

Construction of the Fairfield Inn is expected to take between six to eight months.

June 23, 2014

Rochester's Dunkin' Donuts to open at end of month

Doughnuts should be dunking before the fireworks start launching.

Rochester's new Dunkin' Donuts, the first to operate in Minnesota since 2005, is prepping for a late June "soft" opening. The return of DD is happening at 15 First Ave. S.W. in the Kahler Grand Hotel complex in the heart of downtown.

06232014dunkindonuts"We're in good shape," says Donna Caflisch, who represents Rochester Retail Services. "We're working hard on training now to make sure we're ready with good customer service."

So if you smell doughnuts in downtown during the next few weeks, it probably won't be your imagination. The staff is rolling through lots of training batches.

While Caflisch already has a full team of about 30 employees on staff, she says they still are hiring people that help with DD or other projects. Rochester Retail Services also manages the new Freshens franchise in the Kahler Inn & Suites and is working on a second one in the subway of the Marriott Hotel. That second Freshens could open its doors, if everything goes according to plan, in early August. It's located in the space that last housed the long-time downtown shop, The Crate.

She says the early responses to recent opened Freshens in the Kahler Inn have been very positive.

"People seem to be excited to see some variety in their (downtown) menu choices," said Caflisch.

When asked about speculation that a second Dunkin' is being planned for southeast Rochester, she said she couldn't comment.

While all of the franchises managed by Rochester Retail Services are located in downtown hotels owned by the Kahler Hospitalty Group and the firm offices in the Kahler, Caflisch stressed that there is absolutely no direct connection between any of the owners of the Kahler hotels and the owners of the restaurant franchises. However, she declined to identify who actually owns the franchises.

Rochester's Dunkin' Donuts franchisee, Donuts Non Traditional LLC, incorporated in October 2014. The address it uses is Rochester's Dunlap & Seeger law firm. That's the same address used for Rochester Retail Services, which incorporated in March 2013. It's not unusual for some companies to use their attorneys' address for such filings.

May 09, 2014

Kahler ready to freshen up downtown Rochester

Kahler Inn & Suites is ready to freshen up downtown Rochester this weekend.

Freshëns, a NewPicture41 national fast casual restaurant chain, is ready to open its doors in the hotel complex on the corner of Third Avenue and First Street Northwest.


While the official grand opening and ribbon cutting is slated for Wednesday, Dick Sursely says he expects to launch with a "soft opening" before that, possibly as soon as Saturday.

The Atlanta, Ga.-based company's menu features an array of “better for you” healthy options like rice bowls, smoothies, flatbread salads, crêpes and Freshëns' signature frozen yogurt.

The eatery has seating for 16 inside and more outside. However, Sursely expects the bulk of their business to be "take-and-go" customers during the downtown lunch rush.

This first Freshëns has 14 employees on staff. The Kahler Hospitality Group has a second downtown location already cooking in the subway of the Marriott subway. Construction is underway in the subway space last occupied by Cinta Molloy's Crate.

"They expect to have that one ready to open in a couple of months, possibly in August or July," said Sursely.

He said the plan is to hire about the same size team to run that one as the Kahler Suites' Freshëns. Sursely anticipates having about 30 employees, once both locations are up and running.

The Kahler Hospitality Group also is working on the first Dunkin' Donuts seen in Minnesota for many years. The prodigal Dunkin is being built out by Rochester's Schoeppner construction along First Avenue in the Kahler Hotel complex. Kahler officials have said they expect to open the new doughnut shop this summer.

Unconfirmed bakery buzz about plans for a second Rochester Dunkin Donuts is rolling around, rumored to be outside of downtown, possibly in southeast Rochester.

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 03, 2014

Homewood Suites shaping up in 2nd Street

04032014homewoodsuitesCheck out Rochester's new 111-room, seven-story Homewood Suites by Hilton hotel going up on the 1300 block of Second Street Southwest.

It looks like this project must be starting to near the final few laps of the race to completion.

Rochester developer Marc Carpenter and Torgerson Properties, of Willmar, are building the extended-stay hotel brand next to their Courtyard by Marriot hotel. 6a00d83451cc8269e2016768f3c66c970b-800wi

Including the SpringHill Suites, this is the company's third hotel within in the shadow of the nearby Saint Marys Hospital.

In 2012, the project was described as completing Carpenter's vision for Second Street. Two old houses between the Courtyard hotel and McDonald's were torn down in 2010 as a preamble.

April 02, 2014

North Roch. Pizza Hut getting a makeover

Rochester's Pizza Hut restaurant along U.S. 52 North is getting a full makeover.

01042014pizzahutworkThe Pizza Hut at 2001 U.S. 52 North Frontage Road currently is closed while construction crews revamp the 28-year-old brick restaurant. It sits between McDonald's and Motel 6.

San Antonio, Texas-based Muy Brands is driving the upgrade of the Pizza Hut. Muy, one of the largest Pizza Hut franchisees in the U.S., bought the restaurant in January for $986,733.

There's no official timeline for when the work will be complete, but it looks to be progressing fast enough that the restaurant could re-open by late spring or early summer. Building permits dating back to December estimate the value of the project at $168,000.

The Pizza Hut is not the only restaurant in that neighborhood with changes cooking.

Construction o01042014mcdonaldssitef a new McDonald's restaurant will soon begin by Costco, off 19th Street Northwest. Once the new restaurant is complete, the McDonald's next to Pizza Hut will shift to the new restaurant and the old store will close. Until then, it will remain open.

March 27, 2014

New 24 floor downtown tower takes first step

A proposed 24-story mixed-used complex that would be the second tallest building in Rochester took its first official step forward on Wednesday night.

Broadwayatcenter2The City Planning and Zoning Commission voted to support Titan Development's preliminary plan for the Broadway at Center project. It's slated to be built on South Broadway and East Center Street, just north of Broadway Residence and Suites by BridgeStreet.

"This is a unique project," said designer Hal Henderson of HGA, Inc. to the commission members. "It will be one of the top-quality buildings in downtown."

The 411,000-square-foot Broadway at Center will include retail and restaurants, a 184-unit Embassy Suites Hotel on 11 floors, 84 apartments on six floors and underground parking. It also will feature a landscaped terrace on the third floor.

Broadwayatcenter3"It adds a significant amount of needed retail to the downtown," said Henderson.

Titan anticipates the project will fit with the goals of the Destination Medical Center initiative and will be able to "leverage" city funds to help finance it, Henderson said.

The preliminary plan for the "incentive development" will move on to the Rochester City Council for its approval. Titan, which is spearheaded by Rochester developers Andy and Gus Chafoulias, then will be cleared to fine-tune the project and bring a final version of the plan back to the zoning commission and City Council for the official green light to move ahead.

While some planning commission members, such as Lindsey Meek and Wade Goodenberger, had suggestions for minor improvements, the group overall was supportive of the preliminary plan.

Broadwayatcenter1"Redevelopment is long overdue on that corner," said commission member Nick Campion.

Some details still need to be finalized, including working out a plan with the city for a private-public parking ramp, vacating the alley that runs behind the current buildings and hammering out the details of the complex's connections to the skyway system.

Negotiations are underway with city staff about the proposed parking ramp, which will be connected to Broadway at Center by skyway, said Henderson.

"Plans for the parking structure are lagging behind," he acknowledged. "It's very complicated."

An application to vacate a portion of the alley was filed with the city recently. Commission member Michael Walters voiced mild concern about approving the preliminary plan before the alley issue was resolved. In the end, he was satisfied with Titan's explanations and backed the plan contingent on the eventual finalizing of the alley issue.

"Actually, we're only asking to vacate a portion of the alley. … We will leave an alley there. It will just be re-positioned," said Henderson.

The proposal calls for the alley to be "bridged" by the parking structure. It will remain open for use by the public.

Titan's working out a plan with Broadway Residence and Suites to establish a skyway link to the south between the two buildings. The project proposal states that Broadway at Center will have skyway connections in all four directions. Beside the south skyway, it also will be able to connect west across Broadway, east to the parking ramp and north "for future development."

Assuming everything goes according to plan, demolition of the buildings that house CJ's Midtown Lounge, Ginny's Fine Fabrics and Jakobson Management Co. could happen this summer, with construction beginning late summer or early fall, said Mark Steege, the chief financial officer of Titan Ventures, the parent company for Titan Development.

The tenants are expected to move out in the next couple of weeks, he said.

Steege attended the meeting with Gus Chafoulias, the chairman of the board for Titan. Royal Management President Imad A Baker of Washington, D.C., was also at the meeting, Royal Management developed the 26-story Broadway Residence and Suites in 2004.