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272 posts categorized "Hotels and lodging"

May 13, 2015

Rochester hotel purchased for $2.5 million

The financial details of a Rochester hotel sale in April became public this week.

32482210On April 16, the AmericInn Hotel & Suites Rochester, at 7320 Airport View Drive SW was sold to Cary and Laurie Turner's CLT Investments of Prairie Du Chien, Wis. Rochester's Titan Development & Investments sold the hotel, which was built by Titan CEO Andy Chafoulias in 2001.

Olmsted County has now completed the formal processing of the sale. That means the sale price is now available to the public.

CLT Investments paid $2.5 million for the 72-room hotel. 

May 05, 2015

New Fairfield Inn should be complete and open soon

Construction of Rochester's new 91-room, four-story Fairfield Inn & Suites hotel at 510 17th Ave. N.W. has a lot of momentum these days.

05052015fairfield1I'd expect the hotel, which is near the Miracle Mile Shopping Center, to opening the doors in the very near future.

This project is being led by local developers Nick Pompeian and Harshal Patel.

05052015fairfield2The 51,000-square-foot Marriott-brand hotel stands on the former site of the Courtesy Inn at 510 17th Ave. N.W.

The site is near Saint Marys Hospital and the Miracle Mile Shopping Center as well as many restaurants.The four-story Fairfield Inn also will be very visible to the 70,000 to 80,000 vehicles that drive by daily on U.S.  52.

May 01, 2015

Kahler, union contract talks at an impasse

Talks between the Kahler Hotel Group and the union representing most of its employees are at an impasse over health-care benefits and wages.

KHG, which includes four downtown Rochester hotels and the Textile Care Services commercial laundry, has been talking with Unite Here Local 21 since the start of the year. Local 21 represents about 480 KHG employees, including about 250 at the hotels and 200 at TCS.

177-8a6711a9b2b093a4d3be0de7aefc518dDue to a April 14 ruling by the National Labor Relations Board, the hotels and commercial laundry no longer will negotiate as one bargaining unit. That means each will have a separate contract, though the union says the details of the proposed contract and points of contention are very similar for both groups.

The latest contract, which was a six-month extension of a previous three-year contract, ended at the start of March. Since then, the hotels' housekeepers, bartenders, cooks and bellmen, as well as the laundry employees, have been working without a contract.

Local 21 President Brian Brandt and a team of employee representatives met with KHG and Richfield Hospitality executives on Tuesday to discuss the proposed five-year contract. Both sides say no progress was made nor was another meeting scheduled.

"The negotiations broke down very quickly," said Brandt. "They aren't budging even a little bit. They rejected our proposal outright without discussion or explanation of why."

Brandt said Tuesday's talks lasted about a half hour.
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Patrick Short, area managing director of operations for Kahler, said "several items" were covered at the meeting.

"At this time, we are not against an additional meeting, but no date has been chosen. We currently are standing by our last proposal offered on March 24," stated Short in an email Tuesday afternoon. The two sides last met on April 16.

Short released a broad outline of KHG's contract proposal with a statement last week.

"In our last best and final offer, we believe we have offered a very competitive package which continues to contain the best package for hospitality workers in the entire city of Rochester," he wrote in an email sent late Thursday afternoon.

Short says KHG is paying for up to 70 percent of the premium costs for the insurance provided to the union associates.

But Brandt responded that the deductibles are too high — more than $4,300 for single and more than $8,500 for plus one and family coverage and no copay on the prescription medications.

On wages, Short said KHG's offer would give 88 percent of the union associates an increase in their hourly rate of pay at the signing of the contract.

The union says while most would get a pay increase, the majority of employees would receive less than 1 percent on signing and less than 5 percent over the next five years. In addition, the offer reduces the step increases at 24, 42 and 60 months.

On the point of wages, Short said the KHG contract offer "does not reduce the hourly rate of pay for any of the union associates, regardless if the associate has been here a year or 30 years."

The union says one group of employees — banquet servers — will see a reduction of income under the KHG contract offer. They no longer will receive any of the service charge the company adds on to customers' bill, which will result in a 50 percent or more pay loss for the servers.

Following Tuesday's meeting, Brandt said Local 21 intends to file a number of charges against KHG of possible violations of federal law with the National Labor Relations Board. The charges include surface bargaining, bad faith bargaining, failing to provide accurate information for negotiations, discriminating against bargaining committee members concerning discipline and job assignments, telling probationary workers to remove union buttons and change in working conditions by removing union notices from bulletin boards.

The question facing both groups now is what comes next in the negotiations.

"We'll definitely be taking more actions and doing the things we need to do to pressure on the company," said Brandt.

Those immediate actions will include more picket lines in front of the Kahler hotels. When asked if those actions could include some sort of strike or work stoppage, he responded, "It's is always an option, without a doubt."

April 17, 2015

Wisconsin couple buys AmericInn hotel

The only hotel near the Rochester International Airport changed hands Thursday, though the original developer didn't completely check out of the business.

The AmericInn Hotel & Suites Rochester, at 7320 Airport View Driuve SW, was purchased by Cary and Laurie Turner's CLT Investments of Prairie Du Chien, Wis. The couple also owns hotels in Prairie Du Chien, La Crosse, Wis., and elsewhere in the region.

352_americinnrochesterairportexteriorThe seller, Rochester's Titan Development & Investments, said it will remain partially invested as a partner in the 16-year-old hotel. However, Titan no longer will be involved in the management of the 72-room hotel.

Financial details of the sale were not released by Titan.

Titan CEO Andy Chafoulias originally built the hotel in 2001 and opened it under the Sleep Inn & Suites brand. The hotel is built on land Chafoulias leased from the city of Rochester.

In 2010, the hotel parted ways with the Sleep Inn name and temporarily became the independent Airport Event Center Hotel.

The hotel joined the AmericInn brand in 2010. While Chafoulias remained an owner, Joe Powers, of the nearby Rochester International Events Center and Ground Round restaurant, and well-known Rochester hotelier Myron Salz, of the Centerstone Plaza Hotel, stepped in as managing investors to run the hotel operations. It employed a staff of about 17 at the time.

Chafoulias said in Thursday's announcement of the sale that selling to the Turners was a good opportunity for Titan, which is busy with many other developments, such as the recently completed H3 Plaza tower in downtown Rochester.

“With the numerous focuses that we have around Rochester and across the country, we felt that it was a good time to sell the AmericInn," Chafoulias stated in the news release. "It’s a great hotel with consistently solid numbers, and we foresee a very successful future for it.”

The new owners have "immediate plans of enhancing the hotel’s exterior and interior," according to Titan.

March 06, 2015

10 years of blogging Rochester

On March 4, 2005, I wrote my first blog post. Kiger's Notebook blogo 2x

It was my sixth year at the Post-Bulletin. I created the "Heard on the Street" column about three years before the blog began. 

More  than 6,200 posts, stacks of columns, mountains of tweets and many gray hairs later, I'm still here writing about business and things vaguely related to businesPhoto on 2015-03-03 at 18.11s in southeastern Minnesota.

It'syou, the readers, who make this career such a fulfilling and entertaining one. Thank you everyone for your feedback, criticism and support over these past 10 years. 

10 years of blogging Rochester

On March 4, 2005, I wrote my first blog post.Kiger's Notebook blogo 2x

It was my siPhoto on 2015-03-03 at 18.11xth year at the Post-Bulletin. I created the "Heard on the Street" column about three years before the blog began. 

More than 6,200 posts, stacks of columns, mountains of tweets and many gray hairs later, I'm still here writing about business and things vaguely related to business in southeastern Minnesota.

It's you, the readers, who make this career such a fulfilling and entertaining one. Thank you everyone for your feedback, criticism and support over these past 10 years.  

January 20, 2015

Rochester's Maple Manor sold for $3.5 million

The Blum family's history has been interwoven with Rochester's Maple Manor Health Care and Rehabilitation since its doors opened in late 1964. 

That changed last week, when Pat Blum retired after 36 years as an administrator, and the family sold the nursing home at 1875 19th St. NW for $3.5 million. Pritok Capital of Skokie, Ill., purchased Maple Manor. Pritok now owns seven small senior facilities across the country, including one in St. Cloud.

"It's time to step aside, but it's a sad goodbye," said Blum. "I have mixed feelings obviously. You're talking about moving on from something that has really defined me for 50-plus years of my life."

MaplemanorIt all started when Pat's parents, David and Dorothy Blum, with the help of their six sons, began managing the facility on the first day its doors opened. In fact, the whole family lived and worked there for a year as it was getting going.

"It was all hands on deck back then," said Pat Blum, laughing as he remembered telling school friends that he lived in a nursing home. "Nursing homes used have a lot more families involved in running them."

After he graduated from college and earned his administrator's license, Pat began working at Maple Manor in 1978. His parents retired in 1981.

A new administrator, Karl Swedberg, took the reins last week. He has known the Blums professionally for 17 years and is familiar with Maple Manor.

"We're really excited to be in Rochester. I don't expect any big changes immediately for residents or the staff," Swedberg said.

Maple Manor has more than 100 full-time and part-time employees on staff.

"This is a good match for us. They really 'get' it," Blum said of Pritok.

Pritok is coming into the Rochester market during a senior living building boom, with several new facilities, such as River Bend Assisted Living and The Waters on Mayowood, opening and almost all of the existing ones in the area expanding. Being near Mayo Clinic makes Rochester very attractive to the more than 77 million baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964.

While the Blums are no longer involved with Maple Manor, that doesn't mean they are done with senior care. In 1981, the Blum brothers realized when residents were discharged, "They weren't getting enough support," Pat said. That drove them to start Comfort Health, one of the first home health-care programs in the area.

The family still owns Meadow Lakes Senior Living in Rochester and Prairie Meadows Senior Living in Kasson. Pat still has responsibilities at Comfort Health, which is run by his brother, Chris Blum. Another brother, Pete Blum, still handles the finances of Meadow Lakes and Prairie Meadows.

"I'm still working toward being totally retired," Pat said. "The irony is that my wife just recently graduated as a nurse."

January 07, 2015

Firm with 3 Rochester hotels now employee owned

TPI Hospitality, which has three hotels and about 125 employees in Rochester, transitioned from the family-owned company to an employee-owned one at the start of 2015.

The Willmar-based firm owns the recently opened Homewood Suites, SpringHill Suites by Marriott and Courtyard by Marriott featuring the Saints on Second restaurant in Rochester. All of them are located near Mayo Clinic's St. Marys Hospital on Second Street Southwest.

545d8b3c2992e.imageIt also owns Days Inn, Holiday Inn Conference Center and Perkins Restaurant in Austin. TPI also owns a Perkins Restaurant in Red Wing.

Overall, TPI owns and operates 31 hotel properties and nine restaurants. It has six more hotels under construction. All of its properties are in Minnesota, except a Staybridge Suites hotel in Naples, Fla.

TPI Hospitality has been owned by the Torgerson family since it was founded as a retail business in 1930. In September, CEO Tom Torgerson surprised his employees by announcing he planned to transition ownership through an employee stock ownership plan.

“I chose an ESOP to reward employees for their past, current and future diligent service to TPI, to preserve the legacy of our work and position TPI for the next 50 years and beyond," he saidin a release. "The transition to 100 percent employee ownership not only helps to secure the future of TPI Hospitality as a locally owned and operated company but it also allows us to reward our almost 1,800 employees, many of whom have been with the company for over 20 years, with a superior retirement benefit”.

TPI says it is now one of the largest employee-owned hospitality companies in the country and it is on track to grow to become the largest.

“Becoming an ESOP will require a change in perspective by everyone. I envision an environment where every employee acts as an owner without regard for their specific role within the company. Just imagine the impact of having 1800 owners approaching their jobs the same way,” said Chief Operating Officer Mitch Peterson.

December 15, 2014

Beltz leaves Titan for Waters on Mayowood

In case you didn't see this in print over the weekend, here's a column about an interesting pesonnel change.

Plus it sounds like another well-known Rochester leader is also making a switch. Should have more on that soon.

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

A well-known leader in Rochester's hospitality industry was recently hired by a large, new senior living complex.

John Beltz started on Dec. 1 as the manager of community relations for The Waters on Mayowood, a new 175-unit senior living community under construction at Mayowood Road Southwest and 16th Street Southwest. It's expected to be ready to open for residents in March.

0e7496bThe massive 282,070-square-foot complex will feature a variety types of apartments in two four-story buildings. That will include 71 independent living apartments, 70 senior living with services, 20 memory care and 14 enhanced care apartments.

Beltz has been a high-profile local hospitality executive for many years. Since 2013, he has worked as vice-president of brand management and revenue development for the Chafoulias family's Titan Development and Investments. Prior to that, he worked for Broadway Residence and Suites for six years. From 2002 to 2007, he worked at Rochester's Kahler hotels as a regional vice president for then-owner Sunstone Hotels.

"This is just an another application for my hospitality skills for a new demographic," he said of the new position. "I'm excited to be working with an organization that's really poised for growth."

The Waters on Mayowood is the creation of Rochester developer Jeff C. Brown partnered with The Waters Senior Living of Minnetonka as the operator. The Waters is in charge of seven senior living centers in Minnesota.

“John’s extensive background in high-end hotel management is a perfect fit for The Waters on Mayowood’s upscale community and discerning residents,” stated Waters CEO Kyle Didler in his hiring announcement.

The Waters also hired another well-known Rochester at the start of 2014, when it added Bruce Rohde as the director of community operations for The Waters on Mayowood. Rhode had previously worked for Mayo Clinic for 25 years, most recently serving as the high-profile chair of the facilities division.

December 01, 2014

Ramada = Kahler Apache

A 37-year-old Rochester hotel is trading a national brand for a local one.

The Ramada Hotel & Conference Center, owned by Dan and Terri Penz, of Rochester, officially became the Kahler Apache on Friday. The 149-room hotel is at 1517 16th St. S.W.

Neither of the Penzes were available for comment on Sunday.

01122014ramadakahlersignWhile the southwest hotel now shares a name with four downtown hotels, Kahler Hospitality Group Marketing Director Cherylanne Thomas said it is not financially linked to the other hotels, and KHG is not licensing the name. KHG, which is led locally by businessman Javon Bea, owns the Kahler Grand Hotel, the Kahler Inn & Suites, the Marriott Rochester, the Residence Inn and the Textile Care Services industrial laundry.

"We're just managing this for Dan Penz. We're just consultants," she said. "We just lent him our name to his property because he chose to de-flag it as a Ramada. We're saving him on the franchise fee, which is savings he can pass on to his guests."

KHG and the Penzes signed a contractlast summer that turned the management of the hotel over to the Kahler hotel team. In a similar relationship, KHG hired Colorado-based Richfield Hospitality to manage the Kahler hotels in 2013. Thomas said because KHG doesn't have ownership in the Kahler Apache, Richfield does not have any involvement that hotel.

This name change for the former Ramada will have no effect on the hotel's about 60 employees, said Thomas.

"They are still under an employment contract with Dan Penz. That has nothing to do with us," she said.

01122014kahlerapchesignA longtime Kahler employee, Chase Albrecht was recently named as general manager of the hotel.

"He (Albrecht) now is an employee of Dan Penz," Thomas said. "The previous GM had left on his own."

The Penzes originally purchased the hotel when it was under the Best Western brand in 2002. It became a Ramada franchise in 2004. The hotel originally was built by well-known developer George Baihly in 1977, and it opened as a Midway Motor Lodge. This is the first time the hotel will not have a national brand name over the entrance.

Driven by loyal return visitors coming for Mayo Clinic, Rochester has long been a stronghold for independent hotels without a national brand. While the Kahler name was franchised nationally in the past, Rochester has always been its primary base of operations. Other local independents include the Fiksdal Hotel and the adjacent Aspen Suites.


Local developer Ed Pompeian also has found success with his two Brentwood hotels.

Independent hotels struggled for many years nationally as the big chains established online reservations and rewards program. However, that is changing, said industry expert Smith Travel Research Inc. STR data shows occupancy and revenue at independent hotels growing quickly this year. Analysts point to local market knowledge and online review sites, such as Tripadvisor.com as keeping independents competitive with big chains like Marriott and Hilton.

Hotels, always important in Rochester, are growing quickly as part of the new Destination Medical Center economy. Almost 400 new rooms to be added in 2015 to the current 5,443 rooms.
Brad Jones, executive director of the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau, expects Rochester will pass the 6,000 room milestone in 2017.