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September 19, 2014

Rochester airport office complex sold for $1.6 million

The Affiliated Group has a new landlord following the $1.6 million sale of their leased office complex by the Rochester International Airport.

D5f521eaa63f4c98a62ea4f7564db20fWest Quad Capital LLC  bought the 12,000-square-foot building at 7381 Airport View Dr. S.W. from LNI Airport LLC on Aug. 29. Merl Groteboer of Re/Max Results handled the deal.

West Capital is owned by a Minneapolis family, who purchased the Rochester building as an investment. LNI Airport is one of the companies that long-time real estate investor Les Nelson of Clear Lake, Iowa uses to acquire properties.

The Affiliated Group, which moved its 100 employees into the office complex in July, has a long-term lease on the building. Affiliated is co-owned by Mark Neeb and Paul Skovbroten.

The 91-year-old debt collection company moved from the six-story building at 3055 41st St. N.W. that is part of what many call "The IBM White Buildings," though IBM no longer has any personnel in them.

The Rochester company moved to the 3055 building in 2006, when it sold its former downtown office at 316 First Ave. S.W. That downtown location was later demolished to make way for the 318 Commons student housing and University of Minnesota Rochester educational complex.

September 18, 2014

H3 Plaza's 1st tenant to move in during Dec.

The first tenant is expected to move into downtown Rochester's latest office building development in December, though the entire seven-story complex is not expected to be completed until the spring.

Titan Development and Investments, of Rochester, is building the $17 million building now called H3 Plaza at 300 S. Broadway. Construction began in March, when Titan demolished the former C.O. Brown building that previously stood on the site. H3 is a reference to Rochester's Historic Third Street, which is directly across Broadway from the building.

541ae78d4ef07.imageTitan will be the building's first tenant, with plans to fill the sixth floor with its offices in December. Titan, led by Andy and Gus Chafoulias, has about 25 employees working out of the Minnesota Biobusiness Center on First Avenue Southwest.

"We'll have it ready by then," said Joe Fort, project supervisor for Weis Builders, last week, as he stood inside the bare beams on the sixth floor and a crew of about 45 of his workers and local subcontractors worked around him. Fort expects to have the building enclosed and weather-tight before the full force of winter hits. That will allow them to work through the colder months to complete the first through fifth floors.

All but 6,000 square feet of the 43,000-square-foot building is already leased to local tenants, said Titan marketing and communications manager Shelia Thoma. That available space is divided between the second and third floors of the H3 Plaza.

The Nova Restaurant Group, which is led by Scott Foster and Pat Woodring, will fill the street level with an authentic Italian eatery as well as a rooftop patio bar and grill on the seventh floor. The rooftop patio will tower over Rochester's two nearby roof bars, Kathy's Pub and The Tap House.

Foster and Woodring have worked with Gus Chafoulias in the past, when they opened Chester's Kitchen & Bar in his Shops at University Square building in 2008 and Pescara in his DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in 2009. They haven't named the H3 restaurants yet, though they do hope to open the Italian place in the spring.

Sept.2014H3rooftopSide-by side elevators will take people to the rooftop patio, even when the businesses in the building are closed. H3 Plaza will be connected to the adjacent City Centre complex and the Holiday Inn skyway.

Med City Dental and Dunlap & Seeger law firm, two businesses being displaced from the Associated Bank Building at 206 S. Broadway, have leased space in the H3 Plaza. The dental office, owned by Dr. Fred Carlson, will be located on the second floor, and the law firm, Rochester's largest, will occupy half of the third floor and all of the fourth and fifth floors.

Developer Bloom International Realty of Abu Dhabi plans to demolish the Associated Bank building in 2015 and possibly build a high-end hotel.

Andy Chafoulias originally envisioned developing the H3 Plaza site as a three-story restaurant and entertainment venue in 2013. That plan evolved as information about Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center initiative came out, along with the re-development plans for the Associated Bank building.

The Rochester City Council approved a special redevelopment tax-increment-financing district to raise $300,000 for Titan to cover the asbestos removal and demolition of the former C.O. Brown building. The council also prematurely labeled the H3 development as a DMC project.
 
Assistant City Administrator Gary Neumann said that since the DMC Corp. board of directors needs to approve any project before the start of construction, the H3 development doesn't qualify. However, the council's order states that any leftover money from the tax increment financing for the project could rollover to any nearby approved DMC projects, such as the anticipated update of Historic Third Street.

The pay-as-you-go TIF essentially reimburses the annual taxes the developers will pay, once the project is complete. The earliest Titan could see a payment was estimated at 2016.

Another, much larger, Titan development planned for the corner of South Broadway and East Center Street could possibly qualify as a DMC project. Spearheaded by Gus Chafoulias, the preliminary plan presented to the City Planning and Zoning Commission in March showed a 24-story, mixed-used complex featuring retail and restaurants, a 184-unit Embassy Suites Hotel on 11 floors, 84 apartments on six floors and underground parking. It was called Broadway at Center at that point.

Thoma said that project, which now is called The Legacy, is undergoing changes.

"A redesign with the hotel plans is the reason we are still in the design phase," she said.

September 14, 2014

Fire destroys Byron home

A Byron neighborhood was lit up with flames Friday night as a house was completely engulfed with fire.

ByronhousefireThe house at 716 4th Avenue Northwest was empty at the time of the blaze a little after midnight. Records show the house is owned by Michele and Todd Borchardt.

By the time the sun rose on Saturday, the house was burnt out shell with a collapsed roof.

Neighbor Denyse Woodwick called 911 and reported the fire a little after midnight, according to another neighbor Chris Douglas. She had stepped outside to look for her cat and had noticed the glow of flames over the trees. Her boyfriend ran to the house and found flames shooting out all of the windows on both levels and the walk-out basement.

He awoke the neighbors on either side of the burning house and they began hosing the sides of their homes with water to prevent the fire from spreading.

Douglas says the blaze was incredibly hot. Since no one could enter the house, there was concern that someone might be in the house. One car was in the driveway, but other neighbors said there usually were more vehicles there. Eventually, it was determined that no one was home.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The fire photo was taken by Chris Douglas of Byron.

September 11, 2014

Nu On U to close its doors to pursue new opportunities

After a four year run on North Broadway, a women's clothing resale store called Nu On U is preparing to close up shop as its owner takes on new projects.

48006_153372731356200_2669327_n"We're going to be sorry to say good-bye to Rochester. Business has gone well. It has been a terrific location," said Donna Gates, who has helped her daughter Kisa Bisek run the 1,600-square-foot storefront in the Dison Cleaners Center at 200 N. Broadway.

For Med City old timers, that's the spot that previously housed Wireless Toyz and Hobbit Travel back before that.

They have launched a "going out of business" sale. Gates says they plan on selling everything, including many of the store fixtures and mannequins.

Unlike when many stores close, this closure is not about slow sales. The resale shop was Bisek's brainchild and now she's ready for something new.

"My daughter is being offered other business opportunities, so it's time to shut this down," Gates said.

Nu On U was at the forefront of the surge in resale and consignment stores in Rochester, when it opened in August 2010. It purchases gently used girl's and women's clothing, shoes and accessories with the intent to resell them. By listening to its customers over the years, the store earned a loyal following.

When announcing the closing, Nu On U encouraged its regulars to patronize other similar Rochester shops like Kismet, Refashion, Danielle's Consignment Boutique and Size It Up.

September 05, 2014

RAEDI brings on Holmes to fill new marketing position

Preparing for the rollout of its regional five-year plan, Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. has hired Heather Holmes to fill a new marketing position.

RAEDI announced the hiring of Holmes as vice president of marketing this week. Holmes, a long-time Rochester marketing professional, will start the new job on Sept. 15.

RAEDI President Gary Smith explained that his board decided to create the new marketing position to help with the introduction of the Journey To Growth economic plan that RAEDI and the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce have been working on for the past year.
10654081_10204675785082933_99753887_n
A steering committee of 26 business leaders from Olmsted, Dodge and Wabasha counties has been working on the $150,000 project. The plan, which reaches beyond Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center intitiative into the region beyond Rochester, focuses on three major themes:  expanding and diversifying the economy, optimizing the regional talent base and developing a more cohesive and connected region.

Smith anticipates that the plan should be completed in the next few months, and said that Holmes will help introduce it to the area when it's ready.

"For the past couple of months, we've been doing a national and local search to fill this job," he said. "Heather's a good choice, because she knows who we are and believes in what we're doing."

Holmes comes to RAEDI from the Rochester software firm, Metafile. She also worked in marketing for KAAL-ABC 6 and Corporate Web Services.

"It is an exciting time for our great city, and I'm thrilled to have a front row seat. I can't wait to get started," Holmes said about her new role.

August 25, 2014

Re/Max Results realty zeros in on new Rochester 'home'


After months and months of "house" hunting, a large real estate office seems to have found a new home in Rochester.

Remax_exterior-2Re/Max Results, an Eden Prairie, Minn.-based business with more than 60 Realtors based in Rochester, has been shopping for either a building or a spot to build one here to replace its office complex at 4600 18th Ave. N.W. for quite a while. Various deals, including one for a commercial complex, were rumored at various times to be close to happening.

While the organization has not confirmed its plans yet, an application for a building permit last week seems to signal that the long-anticipated project now is moving forward.

Plans for a two-story, 18,000-square-foot office complex to be built overlooking West Circle Drive Northwest by 26th Street Northwest were submitted to the city planners on Aug. 21 under the title of "Re/Max building and parking lot."

Brian Schoeppner, of Rochester, filed the application. The owner is listed as the 14-year-old West Circle Drive LLC, which has an address of Suite 101 at 4115 26th St. N.W.

Re/Max Results, described as the largest locally owned and operated realty company in the Midwest, entered this market in February 2012, when it purchased Re/Max of Rochester along with Re/Max Realty Source of Austin from Duane Sauke.

Owned by John Collopy and Marshall Saunders, Re/Max Results operates in Minnesota and Wisconsin with more than 800 Realtors. The firm describes itself as the16th largest brokerage in the United States.

The plans for the new real estate office listed G-Cubed, of Chatfield, as the engineering firm for the project and Rochester's The Urban Studio as the architect for the project.

Since the application for the new Re/Max Results offices were just submitted last week, it's unclear how long it will take for the project to be approved by the city or for construction to begin.

August 20, 2014

Rochester architecture firm to move soon

A Rochester architecture firm soon will move out of its long-time digs.

CRW Architecture-Design Group, formerly part of Yaggy Colby Associates, will move out of its offices at 717 Third Ave. S.E. at the end of September, said CRW Principal Chris Colby. The firm has been based in the SEH-Yaggy complex, since it spun off from Yaggy-Colby in 2010.
08202014crwoffices
CRW is led by Colby, Jose Rivas and Jason Woodhouse. All three previously worked for what used to be Yaggy Colby.

SEH-Yaggy has committed that office space to another tenant, according to Colby. SEH-Yaggy is the result of a merger earlier this year between Yaggy-Colby and St. Paul-based Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc.

CRW OfficeWhile the firm eventually will move into its own building, construction of its 4,200-square-foot offices plus four apartments isn't expected to be completed until late October or early November.

That means the 10 employees at CRW will need to temporarily find work space for the 45 to 60 days until its new offices are finished, said Colby.

CRW's new complex is being built at 11th Avenue and Second St. N.W. The office and apartments are being developed by Jose Rivas.

August 15, 2014

Mama Fu's Rochester eatery is 'indefinitely' postponed

Mama Fu's Asian House still wants to open an eatery in Rochester, but don't expect to try General Fu's Chicken here anytime soon.

The Austin, Texas-based "Asian-centric" restaurant chain says its plans for a downtown location near Mayo Clinic are "indefinitely" postponed at this point.

Mama_Fus_logo_V_rgbBuzz about the quick Asian cuisine brand has been simmering since last year when the PB's insatiably hungry Answer Man wrote a column in November that said Mama Fu's had marked off a space in the Kahler Grand Hotel for a Rochester restaurant. Building permit applications were submitted to the city. Signs went in up in the Kahler promoting the future arrival of the franchise.

In recent months, Mama Fu's CEO still was mentioning the future Rochester location in news stories about the chain's plans to open smaller places as well as it's expansion into the Middle East.

Mama Fu's was slated to part be of the Kahler Hospitality Group's growing portfolio of franchise food spots including, Dunkin' Donuts and Freshens.

However, the signs came down and talk of Mama Fu's eventually faded. Albert Im, marketing manager for the Austin company, cleared up the situation in email this week.

"Mama Fu's and our franchise partner were looking forward to opening this year in the Mayo Clinic area. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances and logistical issues associated with the site, we have postponed plans to open in Rochester indefinitely until our next steps are identified," he wrote. "While we have every expectation that Rochester will be a fantastic market for Mama Fu's Asian House, we are unable to determine a time frame for our emergence into the community."

So, it may be a while longer until the local franchise partner opens a Mama Fu's in Rochester. However, work is progressing quickly on the Kahler Hospitality Group's second Freshens cafe. It will be located in the Marriott Subway in the former home of The Crate.

August 13, 2014

Consignment boutique teeing up move to new Broadway store

Danielle David's Rochester consignment business has outgrown its shop and its name once again.

What started out as Danielle's E-Shoes in a small spot back in 2009 quickly moved into a space double the original space with "& More" tacked on to the business name.  An expansion soon followed and the "E" was dropped.

Now she is teeing up to move Danielle's Shoes & Consignment Boutique to yet another larger store at 1920 South Broadway, next to Golf Headquarters. She plans to move from her current spot at 1310 Seventh St. N.W. in the Northgate Shopping Center at the start of September.

"It's very exciting," said David. "I'll have much better visibility there."

To555814_336424926406363_33872887_n make room for her boutique, Golf Headquarters owner Ed Martens is slicing about 2,000 square feet off of his well-known golf shop. The change won't affect Martens' other tenants, Broadway Veterinary Care and an Edward D. Jones financial services office.

With the changes in retail driven by the Internet, Martens says he will condense his store into a 5,200-square-foot space.

"We'll specialize more, focusing on the brands that are most popular in Rochester," he said.

Martens says his staff will continue to work with shoppers to custom-fit each and every club in their bag instead of the more common practice of adjusting the fit based on one or two swings of one club.

"To battle the Internet, we've got to go out and give that extra special service," he said.

Of course, the Internet is the foundation that David built her business on by starting out by selling on eBay. While she still does that, the name-brand consignment of clothes, purses, jewelry and, of course, shoes, has grown.

With the additional space in the new location, she'll be able to stock more clothes in every size category as well display more clothes for many age groups.

The expansion on her offerings with a continued focus on upscale items drove her to make the latest addition to the business name.

"We want to let people to know what this is. We're a boutique," said David.

August 12, 2014

Bank breaks ground for new northwest Rochester branch

Green Bay, Wis.-based Associated Bank broke will break ground on Wednesday for its new 3,000-square-foot branch in northwest Rochester.

10581397_745970035444536_1595413071_nThe new building will replace the branch in the Hy-Vee North grocery on 37th Street Northwest, which closed on July 24. Associated's new site will be located at 1985 Commerce Drive N.W., which is in the Costco's commercial development at 19th Street and West Circle Drive. It will be near the 19th Street entrance to Costco.Associated Bank first filed plans for the branch in February.

EDITOR'S NOTE - Thanks once again to Josh Banks Photography for the pic.

If construction goes as planned, look for the new Associated branch to open in January. The Wisconsin bank has three other branches in Rochester.

The addition of this new branch re-confirms the growing commercial interest in that part of Rochester. Iowa-based West Bank is planning to build its own facility along West Circle Drive in 2015. Two Rochester-based banks, Home Federal Saving Bank and Think Mutual Bank, also have large branches in that area.

Associated's announcement about the new location stated that it will offer "an enhanced banking experience in a revitalized and spacious layout." That will include a full lobby with tellers, a drive-through window and staff to handle mortgages and investment services.

Associated Bank entered the Rochester area in 2004, when it acquired First Federal Capital Bank. First Federal was short-lived here. It picked up the holdings of the long-time Marquette Bank in 2002.

“We take pride in the relationships we have built in this community and we are thrilled to continue these relationships at our new location,” stated Tim Lau, Associated's head of community markets and executive vice president.

Re-locating the northwest branch is not the only Rochester move coming up for the bank.

New owners have acquired Associated Bank's downtown building at 206 South Broadway and the bank needs to move out by spring 2015. Executive Vice President David Stein previously stated that Associated is looking for "opportunities for a new downtown bank location."

Associated has more than 200 locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois.