Since the city of Rochester surrounded his family's 114-year-old farm, developers and real estate agents have regularly talked to Jim Till about selling his island of prime real estate on 19th Street Northwest.
After years of turning down offers, Till sold the remaining 28 acres of his family farm to Jack Remick for $1.85 million last week. Remick also owns Rochester Athletic Club across the road from the farm.
"You look back, you hate to leave, but you've got to go sometime," said Till of selling the farm that he has lived on for all of his 61 years. "It's just time to hang it up."
Remick calls the purchase an investment at this point.
"It's a nice piece of property. I don't really have any specific plan for it," he said. "Some of it is across from the club, and some is across from Lourdes (the high school built on land he donated). I would be very interested in what goes in out there."
Till has six months before he needs to move out. He plans to move to his other farm, outside of Byron. He'll continue to farm more than 300 acres with his brother, Charles Till.
Till bought the farm from his mother, Leone Till, in 2006. The house on the farm, which has been expanded and remodeled several times over the years, was originally built in 1900. Till's grandparents lived there. The family has photos of his father, who was born in 1910, as a baby in front of the house. Jim Till grew up on the farm with his eight sisters and his brother.
The family milked cows and raised fields of corn and alfalfa on their farm and on nearby leased fields. In the 1980s, the brothers each bought farms near Byron.
While the Till farm was originally outside of the city, development slowly encircled it.
West Circle Drive started bringing a lot more activity to the area. Manufacturers such as Crenlo and Pemstar/Benchmark built there. Mayo Clinic expanded into that part of the city. The leased fields on the corner of 19th Street and West Circle Drive, where the Tills grew alfalfa for their cattle, was shaped into a commercial development by Kwik Trip for Costco and other businesses.
"For a long time, there wasn't a lot of traffic. Now, it's just traffic all of the time," said Till.
After Costco went in, he moved the dairy cattle to his Byron farm, which means he has been spending a lot of time on the road going between the two farms.
"The only ones profiting were the gas companies and tire companies. It has been a lot of hassle," he said.
The surge in activity in the area also brought crime. Till has been burglarized a number of times in recent years, which prompted him to install gates and move many things to the Byron farm. He then had a stroke about four years ago, which slowed him down.
"I always said I'd sell when the offer was enough to laugh all the way to the bank," he said. "Well, it was just time to sell, though I'm not laughing too hard."