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12 posts categorized "Oronoco news"

August 07, 2015

Apollo Liquors Express opens Oronoco location

Apollo is coming to Oronoco.

968825_549948038406056_1931891568_nThe Oronoco Gas N Go convenience store on the east side of U.S. Highway 52 North is popping the top on a new store-within-a-store today. The Gas N Go is opening up an Apollo Liquors Express store today.

To launch the new venture, the Gas N Go is hosting a grand opening celebration today and Saturday with music, food and prize giveaways.

March 18, 2013

Oronoco couple signs for $145 million loan to buy Kahler hotels

Here's some from my piece today that pulls back the cloak of secrecy from the mysterious new ownership of the Kahler portfolio of hotels:
Loan documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission indicate that Javon Bea, a Wisconsin hospital executive who lives in Oronoco, is the driving force behind the $230 million purchase of four Rochester hotels, anchored by the Kahler Grand Hotel.
Bea, along with his wife Vita Bea, signed as "sponsors" to borrow $145 million from Deutsche Mortgage & Asset Receiving Corp., part of the German banking giant Deutsche Bank, to finance the deal to buy the hotels from Sunstone Hotel Investors, according to the documents, which are public information and available online. The deal, which was announced in February, also included the Textile Care Services laundry business.

The hotels are the Kahler Grand, the Kahler Inn & Suites, the Marriott Rochester at Mayo Clinic and the Residence Inn.

Bea also is listed as sole owner of RochesterBevFlow, which holds the liquor license for the Kahler hotels. The transfer of the liquor license is on the agenda for the Rochester City Council meeting tonight.

Bea, a former vice president of operations for Saint Marys Hospital, has been chief executive officer of Mercy Health System in Janesville, Wis., since 1989. He has not responded to repeated interview requests in recent months.

Bea previously has been identified as an investor in the Kahler purchase as well as a consultant to the ownership group by Merl GrKahler_grand_hotel_0_rochester_minnesota_unitedstatesoteboer, the Rochester Realtor who represented both sides of the deal.

The financing for the Kahler purchase was outlined in Deutsche Bank's SEC filings:

• Three Deutsche Bank loan components  — $110 million, $10 million and $25 million, totaling $145 million — provided the bulk of the financing, at an interest rate of 7.4 percent.

• "The Borrower" provided $45.8 million in equity. Javon R. Bea and Vita E. Bea are identified as the sponsors of the borrowers and the guarantors.

• Sunstone, a real estate investment firm based in Aliso Viejo, Calif., and owned the Kahler properties for 16 years, retains a $25 million equity investment in the hotels.

SEC documents filed by Sunstone also show that the California company retained $14 million in "liability related to the Portfolio's pension plan." Sunstone also provided "a $3.7 million working cash advance to the Buyer that will repaid from the Portfolio's available cash flow."

According to insiders, one of Bea's plans for the hotels is to offer transitional medical care for people recovering from treatment at Mayo on one or two floors of the 660-room Kahler Grand. The hotel is across Second Avenue Southwest from Mayo's Gonda Building and south of Rochester Methodist Hospital.

Industry experts say such a blending of hotel and hospital has been discussed in other markets, but no one has tried it in Minnesota.

April 20, 2012

Oronoco's dream comes true


For years, it seems the people of Oronoco collective have had one dream, one wish.

All they want is a convenience store/ gas station.

Today that dream came true.

Yes, Virginia, really there is a C-store coming.

I'll have all of the details soon.

March 09, 2012

Energy co-op flips switch on new digs

Here's some from my piece on the changes at People's Cooperative:

A local energy provider is ready to flip the switch on a new $9 million facility, along with a new name.

On Friday, People's Cooperative will close its 41-year-old headquarters at 3935 U.S. 14 E. in Rochester.

It will then re-open Monday in the brand-new complex at the edge of Oronoco along U.S. 52. However, the sign out front says People's Energy Cooperative.

"We thought this would be a good time to change our name, so it better reflects what we do," says People's president and CEO, Elaine J. Garry.C0F26C68-3C7C-1F8E-77BB-79FD324E842F

Adding "Energy" to its name is only one part of the rural power cooperative's rebirth.

Walking on new tile through the freshly painted hallways, Garry explained what drove the move and how this new 74,000-square-foot facility will better serve the cooperative's 15,000 members.

"It is state-of-the-art and equipped with up-to-date technology," she said. "It offers us a lot of possibilities."

The new location offers People's financial opportunities with 10 acres of commercially zoned land and a 26 acre-industrial park called Oronoco Crossings. People's is also marketing its complex on U.S. 14 East for sale.

Tim Clawson, who manages economic development for the cooperative, says there has been interest in both areas, particularly from possible convenience stores or gas stations on U.S. 52.

"We're really pleased with the reaction," he says. "There is no convenience store on the right (west) side of the highway from St. Paul all the way to Rochester's 41st Street."

November 01, 2010

Mac's Park Place resurfaces after flood

Macsunderwater Here's a piece of my column in today's paper. Thanks to Mike Hart for shipping me a note Friday about the re-opening of Mac's Park Place fives weeks after being completely flooded.

And I appreciated Chantel Rouhoff taking time to talk to me Friday night as everyone else celebrated.

For more on this, look at the full column posted here.


Just weeks after being submerged last month's floods, a campground with a bar and grill below the Lake Zumbro Dam started cooking again Saturday.

Macsrepaired "Mac's Park Place is open again. We had a lot of great volunteers … friends who made this happen," said Chantel Rouhoff, talking loud to be heard over the laughter and music from the grand re-opening party going on around her.

Randy and Chantel Rouhoff own the riverfront campground with fishing, tent camping, RV hookups, golf cart races, hiking as well as karaoke and a meat raffle every Friday night at the grill.

Mac's is between Oronoco and Mazeppa at the mouth of the Zumbro River. It is in the shadow of the Lake Zumbro.

June 21, 2010

Rushford nanotech firm + Minn.

Despite its focus on microscopic particles, Rushford’s nanotechnology company is making a big impact in Minnesota’s most prestigious business competition.

Rushford Hypersonic LLC, which was launched by Dan Fox in 2007, was named last week as one of 48 semi-finalists out of more than 1,000 businesses competing for $100,000 to help finance innovative ideas.

Competing in the New High Tech Businesses Division of the Minnesota Cup, Hypersonic now must submit a business plan by July 23 to see if it will be one of the three finalists in the division.

6a00d83451cc8269e20120a58883bf970b-800wi Rushford Hypersonic uses a University of Minnesota-created process called Hypersonic Plasma Particle Deposition to bond coatings made of nano-sized particles into the surfaces of metals, ceramics and other materials,

While the process has many applications, Hypersonic is focusing on using the coatings to improve tools such as drill bits by reducing the friction they create and significantly increasing the coated product’s durability.

The Minnesota Cup, started in 2005, is a non-profit venture to encourage and fund innovate entrepreneur projects to spur new businesses in the state. In 2007,Dr. James Levine of Mayo Clinic topped more than 500 competitors to give Muve Inc. a $25,000 financial boost.

Today Muve is an active company marketing its Gruve devices to help people track the calories they burn and encourage a healthier lifestyle.

Company to build in Oronoco, leave Roch.

Here's some from my article on the People's Cooperative plan to build a new headquarters in Oronoco as well as an industrial park.

This means the 55-employee company is leaving Rochester.

The full piece is posted here.

Rural utilities provider People’s Cooperative is charging up for the future by building a new multimillion-dollar headquarters and an industrial park in nearby Oronoco.

A need to update its facility coupled with a planned extension of Rochester's 40th Avenue Southeast slated to go though its current property helped drive the 75-year-old cooperative’s decision to leave its longtime base in Rochester.

Peoplescooperative “When we started here 38 years ago, this office (at 3935 U.S. 14 East) was positioned outside of Rochester. Now the city has grown around us,” said Elaine Garry, president and CEO of People’s Cooperative."

Now the People’s office is the only site with power from the cooperative within Rochester. However, the entire city of Oronoco is powered by People's Cooperative.

“We have to grow. Our trucks are bigger than our maintenance bays,” she said. "We decided our money would be best spent on a new building.”

People's has approximately 17,000 customers in Olmsted, Dodge, Fillmore, Mower, Wabasha and Winona counties. It employs 55 people.

The new building will be on 74 acres off of 100th Street along U.S. 52 North, just south of Tilly’s American Grill. The state plans to complete an extension of the frontage road there by this fall.

A groundbreaking is scheduled for July and Garry estimates the new cooperative headquarters could be up and running by early 2011.

The new location will also include 10 acres of commercially zoned land and a 26 acre-industrial park called Oronoco Crossings.

"We really would love to get a convenience store on the corner there for the people of Oronoco and and our employees," Garry said.

April 13, 2010

Supper club to open for season

Grampa Look for Grandpa Ed's on Lake Zumbro to open for the season on May 5 with a Cinco de Mayo bash.Grandpa Ed's is an offshoot of Tilly's American Travelers Bar & Grill (formerly Tilly's Tavern) in Oronoco.

Expect new management and new items on Grandpa's menu, I'll have more on this soon.

October 19, 2009

From 331 to Tilly's

032708threethirtyone331jk Bruce Born, the general manger of the 331 Bar and Grill near Rochester International Airport, is heading north for a new gig with an old, familiar name.

Born, who has managed 331 since it opened in this form in March 2008, is taking over the U.S. 52 landmark of Tilly’s Bar and Grill in Oronoco as general manager and managing partner with Mark Kuehn.

“I’ve been doing this (working in restaurants) for 27 years,” he says, “This is an opportunity to get in myself as an owner."

He starts his new job on Oct. 26.

Born says he likes Tilly’s location, reputation and its home-cooked food. “It is very much my style,” he says.

Born plans to add some sort of catering services, which the tavern has not had since spring when former co-owner Karen Lowe-Connelly left.

Lowe-Connelly still offers catering and concessions in the region under the business name she still owns, Tilly's Tavern Catering. That business is unrelated to the Oronoco tavern.

April 22, 2009

U.S. 52 icon to close

Tillysrevamp After nine years as a popular stop on U.S. 52 between Rochester and the Twin Cities, Tilly's Tavern in the Lake Shady/ Oronoco area is closing its doors at the end of April.