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252 posts categorized "Hotels and lodging"

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.

Olive oil shop + fashion boutique

Sometimes oil does mix well.

Stillwater Olive Oil Co. is reviving its downtown Rochester presence by moving in with Exquisite Leather, Luggage and Furs on Historic Third Street.

03262014exquisite"It's kind of a good fit. Lots of women who shop at the boutique also buy from us," says co-owner Ginger Zehm. "There's a lot of overlap."

Lisa Irhke, who owns the three Exquisite Leather boutiques in Rochester, agrees that the two retailers have a lot in common. Irhke opened the 1,600-square-foot store at 20 Third St. S.W. last year. Since then she has found that the boutique doesn't need all of the available space. Stillwater Oil is crafting its own niche within the store that will be about the same size as its previous spot in Rochester.

StillwaterOliveOil440Zehmn hopes to re-open Stillwater Olive Oil by April 1 within Exquisite Leather. The olive oil shop and the fashion boutique will "share" staff with Exquisite Leather's employees being trained to sell the oil and vinegars.

She and co-owner Holly Arps started with their original shop in Stillwater in 2010. They followed their success there by opening a second location in Rochester within the Kahler Hotel in 2011. That earned them a number of Med City foodie fans who were attracted to the wide selection of high-end, flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

"Then there were lots of changes at Kahler. We needed a change," she says. "But we wanted to stay in downtown."

Stillwater Oil's Kahler shop closed at the start of this month to prepare for the transition to Historic Third Street. Manager Tony Miller since has moved on to work at Cook's Pantry, a culinary specialty store in southwest Rochester.

March 18, 2014

New La Quinta Inn to open on March 24

Rochester's latest hotel is slated to open its doors on March 24.

The  $4 million La Quinta Inn & Suites has been under construction in the Shoppes on Maine area, since early 2013.

03162014newlaquintaThe new 83-room, 50,212-square-foot hotel is a project of Fargo, N.D.-based PLC Inc. PLC is also on the early stages of working on an 86-room Microtel Inn & Suites in the same area.

The four-story La Quinta is located at at 4353 Canal Place S.E., near the Rochester Toyota car dealership. Andy Thilges, a well-known and active member in the Rochester business community, is the general manager of the new hotel.

LaquintaatshoppesonmaineThe hotel's amenities include a salt water pool with a slide as well as a kiddie pool and hot tub. It also features a fitness center plus all of the rooms come with microwaves, refrigerators and coffee makers.

Chuck Hayes, the president of Fargo, N.D.-based PLC Inc., talked about the La Quinta and Microtel hotels in January.
6a00d83451cc8269e2019104da5a65970c-800wi
"I like the economics of Rochester. I like what's going on there," he said to explain why he decided to add 169 hotel rooms to the Med City's offerings. "I like the uniqueness of the (Shoppes on Maine) development. It's well managed. Everything's new and fresh. Its access to downtown and Mayo Clinic is convenient."

Hayes' Microtel and La Quinta are just two of many new hotels expected to check into Rochester soon.

A 108-room Homewood Suites on Second Street Southwest is currently wrapping up construction. A 91-room Fairfield Inn & Suites is mapped up to be built near the Miracle Mile Shopping Center. Two other hotels – a 77-room Comfort Inn and Suites and a 109-room Staybridge Suites – are slated to be built in early 2014 along West Circle Drive in front of Costco. Those four projects alone  will add 385 rooms to the city.

January 30, 2014

Dunkin' Donuts rolling into Roch.

The deal is done and Dunkin' Donuts is rolling into downtown Rochester.

After months of rumors, the famous coffee and pastry chain officially is signed up to open on First Avenue Southwest in the Kahler Grand Hotel complex.

Simpsons_donuts-l1"We want to make sure the tenants we have are viable for Mayo's DMC plans," said Cherylanne Thomas, managing director of marketing for Richfield Hospitality in Rochester, Richfield manages the five Kahler hotel properties here.

"Obviously, Dunkin' is a great brand. They were looking to lease in the area. It seemed like a good fit," she said.

Thomas says a franchisee, Donuts Non Traditional LLC, plans to open a Dunkin' Donuts between Hanny's and Victoria's Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar. The move of Optical Vision with Flair into part of the Hanny's store is opening up the space for the doughnut maker.

Building permits for the project were submitted this week to the city. The rough timeline is for the new Dunkin' Donuts to open by late June or early July, according to Thomas.

This could be the first of an estimated 50 Minnesota locations the company would like to open in the next few years. Dunkin' Donuts hasn't had a presence in Minnesota for almost a decade. The final shop, which was in Austin, closed in 2005. The Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin' Brands announced its plans to return to the state earlier this month. 

At that time, Steve Rafferty, senior director of U.S. franchising, stated that the new locations would be focused around the Twin Cities metro areas as well as Rochester, Mankato and Duluth.

Rafferty said franchisees need to have a minimum of $250,000 in "liquid capital" and $50,000 net worth per location. Each franchisee is responsible for a territory with at least six locations.

Rochester's franchisee, Donuts Non Traditional LLC, incorporated in October. While Thomas describes it as being based in the Twin Cities, state documents list its address as the same as Rochester's Dunlap & Seeger law firm. It's not unusual for some companies to use their attorneys' address for such filings. Dunlap & Seeger also represents Kahler Hotel properties.

This is the latest in a series of tenant changes, some of which have spurred lawsuits from tenants unwilling to move. Javon R. Bea, the chair of the Kahler Hotel Group's board of directors, has been orchestrating the changes.

Thomas said Bea's goal is make the hotels better.

"Obviously, he supports both retail and restaurants in the community," she said.

The expectation at this point is that the new Dunkin' Donut location will be open seven days a week. Thomas added that the franchisee is planning on using the company's latest design concept for this location.

"It'll feel more like a cafe," she said.

October 03, 2013

Two more hotels in works for NW Rochester

Two new hotel projects are gearing up in northwest Rochester, which means the city could see at least four new hotels with about 375 rooms open in 2014.

Two developers plan to build a 77-room Comfort Inn and Suites and a 109-room Staybridge Suites along West Circle Drive in front of Costco.

Both projects have submitted plans to Rochester Building Safety Department with the hope of beginning construction this year.

Gozwhuevpu_41838b34_8380_574d_dbf3_2cddae47d2e6Two other hotels — Homewood Suites on Second Street Southwest and La Quinta Inn and Suites in Shoppes on Maine — are already under construction. Homewood will have 108 rooms, and La Quinta will have 83.

Other hotels have been proposed for downtown Rochester, though they are in the very early stages.

All of this activity doesn't surprise Brad Jones, president of the Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"We knew that we were going to need more hotels," he said. "I think we'll hit 6,000 hotel rooms by the end of 2014."

Rochester has 5,359 rooms available now. That puts this city second in the state behind Minneapolis, which has more than 10,000 rooms.

Through August, occupancy at Rochester hotels is up almost 8 percent over last year. That means an average of 65 percent of local hotel rooms are filled at any time.

"That's huge growth in what's typically a very stable market," Jones said. "We're outperforming the trends throughout the country and the state. Whenever you see that, you'll see building projects start up."

September 25, 2013

Bank building sells in downtown Rochester

Here's some from an article I have in today's edition about yet another major downtown Rochester real estate deal.

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The rush for developers to stake out a claim in downtown Rochester continues this month, as the seven-story Associated Bank building was sold on Sept. 16 after months of speculation.

As of Oct. 1, all tenants of the building at 206 S. Broadway are to make out rent payments to Bloom International Realty, according to a letter from Oxford Property Management. Oxford, which is based in Rochester, will manage the building for the new owners.

52430f56ccab8.imageA series of major development projects have been launched since Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center initiative to invest in Rochester's infrastructure, Mayo Clinic and the surrounding business community was launched earlier this year.

"We're not surprised. DMC represents an exciting new chapter for Rochester, which the marketplace is reacting to," said Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce President John Wade.

The tenants, which include the bank, the Dunlap & Seeger law firm, the O'Brien & Wolf law firm, Minnesota Public Radio and others, were told they need to vacate the building in 2015. Many tenants said off the record that they've heard the new owners will demolish the building to make make way for a new development, possibly a high-end hotel.

Mark Dixon, of Oxford Property Management, exchanged phone messages with the Post-Bulletin on Tuesday but could not connect for an interview. Dixon was meeting with a visiting international group, presumably the new owners of the Associated building.

Bloom is a foreign company that incorporated in Minnesota last week, according to state records. Some Rochester business leaders have said off the record that the new owners are Bloom Properties LLC, which is based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. If the Abu Dhabi firm is the new owner, it would raise the recent real estate activity to a new level. Bloom signed a deal with another firm this week to build a $4.5 billion residential project in Baghdad to house 150,000 people.

"The new owners have not only made an investment in downtown but want to be partners with our community going forward," said Wade, who has met with the new owners.

While he did not identify them, Wade said this is the first local investment by this group. However, they have had "a long relationship" with the city and are very familiar with Rochester.

August 20, 2013

New south Rochester hotel taking shape

08182013laquintaThe new La Quinta Inn and Suites hotel is really taking shape in the Shoppes on Maine area in south Rochester.

PLC Inc., a hotel development firm out of Fargo, N.D., is building it, just east of the Rochester Toyota and Mercedes car dealerships.

The new $4 million, 50,212-square-foot hotel will have 83 rooms and
an oversized swimming pool.

08182013laquinta2 In June, 2012, I asked PLC president Chuck Hayes why he wanted to build more hotel rooms when the Med City already has so many.

"Rochester is a growing community with a lot of history. It is a place we've long thought we'd like to be," Hayes said. "We feel there is a need for more rooms."

And that was back when DMC was just a local sales tax inititiative.