Following Wednesday's announcement about the delay in the financing for the now-$145 million Broadway at Center project, I decided to look at back an earlier version of that project rolled out by Titan Development and Investments in 2013.
Here's an article I filed on May 31, 2013 with an assist from Managing Editor Jay Furst. The rendering is of the version of Broadway at Center introduced at Titan's press conference:
Just a week after Mayo's Destination Medical Center plan was approved by the state, a Rochester developer announced plans today for a 25-story tower at the corner of South Broadway and East Center Street.
The Broadway at Center mixed-use project, proposed by Andy Chafoulias' Titan Development and Investments, would have about 30,000 square feet of Class A office space, a 150-room four-star hotel, 150 market-rent apartments, a "high-end grocery" and a Minnesota-branded steakhouse, among other attractions.
The announcement was made at a news conference this morning at Titan's offices in the Minnesota Biobusiness Center. Chafoulias didn't attend; the announcement was made by John Beltz, vice president of brand revenue development.
Titan is "poised for some very significant growth and contributions to Rochester," Beltz said, citing the company's planned restaurant and entertainment complex three blocks south at the C.O. Brown building site and a seniors apartment project further north on Broadway.
No cost estimate was provided for the Broadway at Center tower, and Beltz said the tower could go higher as planning proceeds -- possibly topping the Broadway Residences and Suites tower next door, which is the tallest building in Rochester and southern Minnesota. As planned, the building would have about 300,000 square feet of space and would be connected to the skyway system and a planned city parking ramp on the block.
The new building would be on the northwest corner of the block bounded by South Broadway, East Center Street, First Street Southeast and First Avenue Southeast. The Broadway Residence and Suites tower is on the southwest corner, and the new project would be on the current site of CJ's Midtown Lounge, Jakobson Management Co. and Ginny's Fine Fabrics.
The goal is to have a "hole in the ground" and construction underway next year, Beltz said. He declined to identify the hotel, restaurant and retail tenants who are in discussions with Titan but said in a news release that they're "finalizing negotiations with several recognizable Minnesota brands."
Rochester's lack of a top-tier hotel brand was often cited during the DMC legislative process as something the city needs to attract national and international medical visitors.
The announcement signals Andy Chafoulias taking the wheel of a project envisioned by his father, Rochester developer Gus Chafoulias, in 2007. That proposal was for a two-tower mixed-use project with retail, apartments and office space as well as possible space for University of Minnesota Rochester.
As with the previous version, Rochester architect Hal Henderson of HGA Architects and Engineers would direct the project design. Darren Schlapkohl, Titan vice president of development and construction management, said the project has "been in design for some time and continues to evolve."
Mayo's DMC initiative, which was announced in January and won legislative approval less than two weeks ago, is "an excellent addition to the vision" for Rochester, Beltz said, but Henderson said the Broadway at Center project has been at an advanced stage for at least six months.
Two years after making a flashy return to Minnesota with a Rochester shop, Dunkin' Donuts has signed a franchise agreement to bring three more locations to the region.
The Massachusetts doughnut maker announced Thursday that it has signed a deal with new franchisees Oliver Schugel and David Schooff to open three new restaurants in Mankato. The first one is slated to open in 2017.
Mankato is leaping ahead of Rochester, which was expected to have about five locations by now.
Rochester Retail Services, a division of the Kahler Hospitality Group, opened a shop here in June 2014 at 15 First Ave. SW in its Kahler Grand Hotel complex in the heart of downtown. It was the first one in Minnesota since 2005. Dunkin' said then that Rochester Retail Services would be opening five more shops in the next few years.
That changed last fall, according to Dunkin' Donuts Senior Director of Franchising Patrick Cunningham.
"Rochester Retail Services, the franchisee of record, will continue to own and operate the existing restaurant in the Kahler. However, they will not develop more Dunkin' stores as we previously reported," he said in October.
When announcing the coming Mankato shops, Dunkin' said franchise opportunities remain available in Rochester. Plus, "to help fuel additional growth in the market, special development incentives are available."
In Mankato, the new franchisees have more than 45 years of combined experience in business and real estate development.
“We have a passion and loyalty for the Dunkin' Donuts brand and look forward to opening our restaurants in the years to come," stated Schooff.
A long-anticipated downtown Rochester development, the first Destination Medical Center project, is still waiting for financing before can can begin.
City officials were notified recently by Hinshaw & Culbertson, a Minneapolis law firm, that a $102.5 million loan to finance the bulk of developer Gus Chafoulias' 23-story Broadway at Center tower was scheduled to close on May 31. A $2.3 million tax-increment financing loan was expected to close at the same time.
However, that didn't happen.
When asked Tuesday about the status of the financing and the timeline for the Broadway at Center project, Titan Development Marketing and Communications Manager Sheila Thoma made a statement via email. Titan is a Chafoulias family company.
"It has not closed. As soon as it does, I will let you know," she wrote
The loans are being made by Minneapolis-based Dougherty Financial Group, which includes seven financial companies that manage more than $42 billion in assets. The firm's founder and board chair, Michael E. Dougherty, is very familiar with Rochester and Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center initiative.
Dougherty joined the the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees in 2012. He then became a DMC Corp. board member in April.
While the loans and $6.5 million in assistance from the city of Rochester will finance the majority of the $140 million project, people close to the project say an additional $35 million is coming from Middle Eastern investors.
Chafoulias, with limited assistance from his son Andy Chafoulias and Titan, has been working on different versions of this project since 2007.
Broadway at Center will house a 264-room Hilton Hotel, 33 apartment units and space for office, retail and restaurant use. More than $14 million — including the city's $6.5 million assistance to the developer and the remainder of infrastructure costs — is planned to be reported as DMC local contributions and credited toward the city's $128 million commitment.
There has been a lot of interest about when demolition of the empty CJ's Midtown Lounge and other buildings on that corner would begin. Once the financing for the project is locked in, that should clear the way for work to start.
After 24 years in the fast lane, Roger Gansen is ready to slow down a bit.
Gansen has owned and run Auto Techs, a repair and sales shop, in Rochester since 1992. He has operated at his current location at 650 S. Broadway for about 12 years.
Now he has a "Closing soon" sign out front as he prepares to sell his property to the Lamont Cos. He plans to close the doors of his two-man shop at the end of June.
"It's kind of tough," said Gansen of the closure.
However, part of him is looking forward it.
"I'm ready for a change," he said. "I think this is kind of an opportune time for it."
The big question is will he re-open the popular Auto Techs somewhere else. That's a question he really doesn't have answer for.
"As of right now, everything is up in the air," Gansen said on Friday. "But right now, I'm looking forward to slowing down a bit."
While he is slowing down, the activity on that block of South Broadway is quickly ramping up this summer.
Lamont Cos. are the developers who recently purchased the adjacent Clarion Inn for $5 million with plans to build a newCandlewood Suites hotel and retail center. A liquidation sale of all of the hotel's furnishings and fixtures is underway.
Based in South Dakota, Lamont Cos. are the same developers who built Rochester's Holiday Inn by the Miracle Mile shopping center on Second Street in 2012.
Chef Stewart "Shefzilla" Woodman's short tenure in Rochester is over.
The award-winning chef and cookbook author came to the Med City in September to take the reins of the culinary operations of the Kahler Grand Hotel and its sister hotels. The Kahler Hospitality Group'srestaurants include The Grand Grill, Salute, Martini's, Crossings Bistro, Lord Essex, Freshens and Dunkin Donuts.
The hotels and restaurants are controlled and owned, in part, by local health-care executive and real estate developer Javon Bea and his family.
While it seemed last fall that the high-profile chef was planning for a long run in Rochester, Twin Cities media is reporting that Woodman started a new job this week as executive chef at Lela. Lela is a high-end Minneapolis eatery located on the northwest corner of Interstate 494 and Highway 100.
Mpls.St. Paul Magazine is reporting that Woodman is excited about the new role, because his gig in Rochester did not allow him much time to actually cook or manage a kitchen.
Michael Henry, Kahler's managing director of human resources, didn't return either a call or an email today asking for details about the change and if Woodman has been replaced yet.
Kahler Hospitality has been tweaking its restaurants in recent years to keep up with the increasingly competitive Rochester food scene. Woodman's departure could set that process back a bit.
Prior to Woodman, Kahler Hospitality employed Chef Pasquale Presa from 2011 to 2015 to spice up its menus. Chef Pasquale is now the executive chef at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions in the Wisconsin Dells.
The final pieces of the Costco development in northwest Rochester are slated to be built this summer, starting with a new hotel.
A South Dakota-based developer, SD Rochester LLC, purchased land between the Comfort Inn and McDonald's along West Circle Drive from Northwest Investments of La Crosse for $1.45 million on Jan. 15.
According to city documents, the firm lead by Dan Henderson is planning to build an almost $6 million, three-story hotel under the dual brands of Sleep Inn and MainStay Suites. It will join two hotels — Comfort Inn and Staybridge Suites — built last year.
"They are a highly sophisticated group. I think this will be a good project," said Hans Zietlow, of Northwest Investments. "They got a pretty key piece of property."
Zietlow began carving the development out of a farm field for Northwest Investments in 2010. Northwest Investments is the real estate arm of Kwik Trip Inc. Zeitlow typically handles land planning for the Wisconsin convenience chain's stores, so this was not his usual type of project.
Starting it during a recession gave it a slow start, but a recovered economy plus a prominent anchor such as Costco has made it a hot property.
"Once or twice in your life, you have way more buyers than land to sell. Then you get to be picky about selling property," he said. "This is one of those times for me."
Beside the addition of the third hotel, a multi-tenant center also is slated to be built by Aldi this summer by a Twin Cities developer. There's no word yet on what retailers or restaurants it might house.
"I think that one will take off like a rocket," Zietlow said.
With the Costco development pretty much wrapped up, Northwest Investments is turning its attention to a nearby 50-acre property at West Circle Drive and Valleyhigh Drive. They have started the planning process to add roads and utilities into the area to prepare to sell lots, just as they did at the larger Costco property.
If things go as expected, construction could start there yet this year.
"There's a lot interest in that area, particularly since the new Hy-Vee opened," he said.
Zeitlow and Northwest Investments have driven a lot of change along Rochester's West Circle Drive area, and now more is one the way.
"Anyone looking for a place to build in Rochester now has to look at Northwest before they make a final decision of where they are going to go," Zietlow said. "That wasn't the case 10 years ago."
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.
Originally 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.
Hammes' 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."
Is a top Twin Cities chef set to trek down to Rochester and start cooking?
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.
Don't expect to book a room in Rochester's downtown Holiday Inn after Aug 31, according to the hotel chain's national reservation line.
An InterContinental Hotels representative on the reservation line said this week that Rochester employees said the 170-room hotel at 220 Broadway Ave. S will close at the end of August. They told the ICH representative the closing is because of the sale of the hotel.
For several months, word has been leaking out about a deal to sell the downtown hotel to an unnamed buyer who is planning to convert the 46-year-old hotel into a senior living facility.
If the buzz is correct, these talks have been going on for quite a while without reaching closure. Now the employees are saying a closure is on the way.
At least for the hotel, if not the real estate deal.