The chatter on the streets these days is that a new manufacturer is seriously looking at the possibility of setting up shop in Rochester. While no names have surfaced yet, the buzz is that this manufacturer could need up to 250 workers and 200,000-square-feet of space.
If that is even close to accurate, this could be a big addition to Rochester's goal of becoming more economic diverse.
We'll keep an eye on this to see if this interested company decides to move ahead with a Med City project.
A Byron neighborhood was lit up with flames Friday night as a house was completely engulfed with fire.
The 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.
Titan 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.
Not 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.
The ever-alert Todd Schwartz spotted a sign on the new Burger King fast food eatery on Marion Road saying it's opening today (Wednesday, Sept.4).
This is the new place built by franchisee Dolphin Corp. on a long empty chunk of land at the corner of 12th Street
Southeast and Marion Road Southeast.
That spot is in front of the new Marion Road Business Center and the Kwik Trip station on Marion Road. It is across 12th Street from the Cub Foods Plaza,
where Dolphin has a Burger King. The new BK is replacing its older sibling location.
Dolphin Corp. owns all three Burger King restaurants selling in the Med
City. They're located along South Broadway and North Broadway, as well
as in the Cub Foods center.
The buzz going around South Broadway is that when Holiday takes ownership of the six SuperAmerica stations in Rochester on May 1, one of them will go dark.
Officials with Bloomington-based Holiday have not responded to inquiries
about changes in the Med City. However, there is evidence to support
this closing theory. Rochester building permits show that Holiday signs
are going up at all of the Super America stations, except the one on
People in the neighborhood around the station say they are hearing the
store is closing because it's the smallest in the batch. The 18-year-old
Broadway station is 1,900 square feet. By comparison, SA's station on
Second Street Southwest is about 1,500 square feet larger.
Of course, having a Kwik Trip station right next to the South Broadway SA probably didn't help its perceived viability.
If that station does go dark, it will be interesting to see what happens
next. Holiday does have a history of selling its "surplus real estate,"
so there's a good chance that lot will go on the market.
For obvious reasons (see previous sentence about Kwik Trip), it will probably not become another gas station.
So what could go there?
I'd say a coffee shop, small diner or even a fast food place (Dare I say…White Castle?) could be reasonable options for that high traffic area along South Broadway.
Even a bar might work there. Remember,Beer Bellyzis a converted Holiday gas station.
When I asked my long-time source Travis Doster about the status of the Texas Roadhouse restaurant slated for northwest Rochester, he summed it up pretty quickly.
"The deal is as dead as a doornail," he said with a sigh.
This was the plan to build a 6,995-square-foot restaurant in the parking lot of Rochester's Northwest Plaza shopping center near Sam's Club and Walmart.
After years of searching for a spot in Rochester as well as a misfired attempt at opening in the Miracle Mile shopping center, Texas Roadhouse thought it had the Med City locked up. It had plans and permits in hand.
But somebody left the gate open and the cattle stampeded.
The Roadhouse just needed the blessing of its future neighbors — Walmart and Sam's Club — to be able to start construction. That's where it fell it apart.
As other Rochester restaurants have discovered (I'm looking at you Buffalo Wild Wings), parking issues can be a tough obstacle to overcome.
Walmart signed off on the project without an objection, but Sam's Club
wasn't sold on the idea of having a large restaurant in the heart of the
area where its customers park.
"We're very disappointed. We love the area and we think it is a great
fit," says Doster. "We were fairly confident this would work."
So could Texas Roadhouse try to lasso another spot here? Or does this
mean the steakhouse chain is now ready to stop beating a dead horse and
head for greener pastures?
"We're spent so much time and effort there, it is hard to say what we'll
do next," he says. "If any of your readers have any ideas for us, we'd
like to hear them.
There you go, Roadhouse fans. The ball is in your court.
Today is the annual Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce golf bash at Willow Creek Golf Course.
It is quite a bash, if you haven't been before. And it is an event that I always associate with Denny Hanson, who we recently lost.
For many years, I worked with Denny as a source and as a friend. We had a friendly running competition over who had the freshest bit of business news.
I miss those exchanges. Beyond politics, which I truly have no opinion about, I know he was someone I always enjoyed interviewing.
Many years ago, I even tracked him around the golf course during the tournament for a quote on a business issue that was very sensitive at the time. Eventually, I got a very honest and blunt quote from him. He caught a lot of heat over that quote, but it never stopped him from talking openly to me.
Denny was always a super nova of energy right in the middle of the action at the golf tournament, laughing and joking with everyone orbiting around him. And yes, for those who remember last year's infamous costume, he sometimes crossed the line of good taste.
Like us all, he had lapses in judgement, but he was a very good man who cared deeply for his family and for community. Denny worked tirelessly doing what he thought was best for this community.
Hanson had a fierce appetite for life, which he embraced with a Captain and diet in hand and jolly laugh.
In memory of Denny and his love for the chamber golf tournament, here's a video of him butchering the song, "I Can See Clearly" back in 2009.
This caught my attention Thursday when Rochester'sOlive Juice Studios emailed out their newsletter.
Olive Juice co-owner Scott Schoeberl and Jessica, who manages the photo studio, stopped on a whim to chat with Rochester's famous "2nd Street Waver."
Here's a little of what Kelly Schoeberl, who owns Olive Juice with her husband Scott, wrote about that visit plus, of course, some photos of the colorful Waver himself.
Scott and I have lived in Rochester for nearly 10 years. Rochester is best known as the home and birthplace of Mayo Clinic and, to the dismay of some, the corn cob water tower.
The Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau publishes a magazine, Experience Rochester, to promote the many amenities that make Rochester a "Best Place to Live" (Money Magazine). And, if you ask someone on the street, they are more than happy to tell you where the nearest park, bike trail or golf course is. What no one knows, however, is the story behind the guy on 2nd Street.
He stands on the sidewalk, wears the most outrageous outfits and happily waves at cars as they pass by. We drive down 2nd Street every day. It takes us to our gallery and it's the same road patients use when they visit Mayo Clinic. Sometimes we see the "2nd Street Waver" in the morning and sometimes we see him in the afternoon. No matter when, he always makes us happy. So happy, we feel compelled to honk and wave back.
A few weeks ago, curiosity got the best of Scott and Jessica. They had just finished a photo shoot and were driving back to the gallery when they saw him, the 2nd Street Waver. Camera in hand, they stopped and introduced themselves (first name then last and middle, per his request).
Turns out, his name is Joey and he's 44 years old.
Joey has battled diabetes, high cholesterol and a depression that kept him locked in his apartment for years. It wasn't until he "got a calling from God" that he went outside to wave.
Joey wears a different outfit every day and gets limitless energy from the can of Pepsi he holds as he waves. He taught Jessica to hold the can with 2 fingers outstretched to signify 2nd Street. He also put his hats on her head and let her wave his flags. He said she was the first person he ever let do so.
Joey hopes to start a movement. Waving makes him feel better and he thinks people all over the country would feel better if they did it too. It would be easy to dismiss Joey as "crazy" but we think he's pretty darn smart and can't help but wonder if the rest of us are the challenged ones.