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255 posts categorized "Wheels news"

May 19, 2015

Southeast auto business to build a new, bigger shop

A long-time, family-owned auto shop is shifting gears to build a new home in southeast Rochester.

Tilson's Auto Repair, owned and run by Ben Tilson with his two sons, hopes soon to start construction of a new eight-bay, state-of-art shop on an open lot at 1740 South Broadway. That puts them between the 63 Club bar and Advance Auto Parts.

TilsonsThey hope to have the new almost 7,000-square-foot facility completed and ready to open this fall, possibly as early as September.

The elder Tilson has been repairing Rochester vehicles since 1984. In 2004, he moved into the four-bay shop in the Kmart building at  843 Third Ave. S.E. Now 11 years later, he needs a larger place with more visibility.

"The market changed. The dynamics have changed with DMC (Destination Medical Center)," he said. "As Rochester grows, we grow."

In the current location, he has six on staff including himself and his sons, Joe Tilson and the younger Ben Tilson. Once the new shop is completed, they hope to add four to six more employees to the staff.

The new shop will give the Tilsons access to some vehicles that are difficult to deal with now, added the younger Ben Tilson.

"We'll have bigger doors, which will make it a lot easier to work on bigger vehicles," he said.

The new location still will keep the shop in the area where they have long served customers.

"We wanted to stay in general area. Southeast is home," said younger Ben Tilson. "We want to be the predominant family-owned shop on this side of town."

May 01, 2015

New Honda dealership to start up Monday

It has that fresh new dealership smell.

After almost a year of work, Tom Kadlec Honda is ready to move into its brand new dealership at 3333 Wilder Road NW, west of U.S. 14 and east of West Circle Drive. General ManageNewhondasignr Tyler Kadlec expects to open the doors of the 55,000-square-foot dealership at 6:30 a.m. Monday.

It will have about about 500 to 525 vehicles on display on the lot with about 100 employees staffing the dealership.

"We're ready to go," said Kadlec, while walking through the new showroom earlier this week. He and his brother, controller Tony Kadlec, are the second generation of Kadlecs to sell cars in Rochester.

Both service and sales departments are expected to be up and running in the new location, which is "almost triple the size" of the longtime location at 4444 U.S. 52 North on Rochester's "Car Row."

But don't expect that dealership to stay empty for long. Kadlec has signed a purchase agreement with Twin Cities-based Luther Automotive to acquire Kia of Rochester. Luther's Park Place Motors currently handles Kia at its 2720 U.S. 52 North location.

No one at Luther was available Thursday to discuss the deal.

Tyler Kadlec said he hopes to wrap up that transaction by the end of the month and then move Kia into Honda's former home. The plan is to have about 25 on staff at Tom Kadlec Kia.

Kaldec expects to have about 150 to 200 new Kias and 150 to 200 used vehicles on the lot.

At the new Honda dealership, the Kadlec family is adding some new touches to its 36-year history of selling cars in Rochester.

The new dealership has several comfortable lounge areas as well as several computers for customers to use. There also is a separate area for customers to use for business calls.

Later this summer, the dealership also will have its own dog park, with canine-friendly turf for customers to use.

"Historically, car dealerships have not been places people enjoyed being at," Tyler Kadlec said. "We're hoping to change that."

November 08, 2014

The fall of the Flamingo

It may be almost winter with snow in the forecast, but it is definitely "fall" time at Rochester's former Flamingo Bingo/Circus World/ Skateland building

11082014flamingodemo1Demo crews have been chewing away at the empty building at 2828 U.S. 52 North in the past week or two. With about half of the 42-year-old building already gone, it's definitely "game over" for the former entertaonment parlor.

The Twin Cities-based Luther Automotive Group owns the building and it launched demolition plans in October, though the company has no immediate plans for the property.

"I'm simply taking it down because I just don't want to carry the building through the winter. The roof is compromised," said Linda McGinty, Luther's director of real estate and development, last month. "We just don't have a use for it. When we do develop this site, that was a building that we weren't planning on reusing."

The car dealer bought the 42-year-old building for $950,000 back on Jan. 17. Luther also owns Park Place Motors, Rochester's BMW dealership. Since Park Place is nearby, Luther theoretically could use the ex-bingo property to expand Park Place or possibly to introduce a new dealership into the market.

Flamingo Bingo, which raises money for the Rochester Senior Center, moved out of the 2828 building in April and into the Elks Lodge 1091 at 1652 U.S. 52 North in the Hillcrest Shopping Center.

It had operated in that building since 2007. Prior to the creation of Flamingo Bingo, it was the home of Circus World Bingo, which raised funds for Rochester's Catholic schools.

October 23, 2014

Former Flamingo roost to be razed

While Flamingo Bingo is rolling along in its new home in Rochester's Elks Lodge, it soon will be game over for its former home.

The empty building at 2828 U.S. 52 North is slated for demolition by its owner, the Twin Cities-based Luther Automotive Group. Luther filed for a demolition permit this week, though the company has no immediate plans for the property.

10232914flamingobingo"I'm simply taking it down because I just don't want to carry the building through the winter. The roof is compromised," said Linda McGinty, Luther's director of real estate and development. "We just don't have a use for it. When we do develop this site, that was a building that we weren't planning on reusing."

The car dealer bought the 42-year-old building for $950,000 back on Jan. 17. Soon after, McGinty said, "We're working on possible plans. We're just happy to be in Rochester. We're excited to be part of the vibrancy."

Luther also owns Park Place Motors, Rochester's BMW dealership. Since Park Place is nearby, Luther theoretically could use the ex-bingo property to expand Park Place or possibly to introduce a new dealership into the market.

Flamingo Bingo, which raises money for the Rochester Senior Center, moved out of the 2828 building in April and into the Elks Lodge 1091 at 1652 U.S. 52 North in the Hillcrest Shopping Center.

It had operated in that building since 2007. Prior to the creation of Flamingo Bingo, it was the home of Circus World Bingo, which raised funds for Rochester's Catholic schools.

June 26, 2014

Knutson lands $17.3M contract to upgrade Rochester MnDOT complex

A Minnesota construction firm with a large Rochester-based office and team won the $17.3 million contract to renovate the MnDOT District 6 headquarters.

Minneapolis-based Knutson Construction was chosen last week as the "best value" contractor for the third phase of the major upgrade of the MnDOT and State Highway Patrol facilities at 2900 48th St. N.W.

MnDOT_Rendering-600x330Knutson will add a new 911 call center, a new data area, a lab to test road materials as well as conference rooms and offices to the older MnDOT building. Plans also call for installing solar panels and a new mezzanine.

Construction is slated to start on July 14 and should wrap up in October 2015, said Knutson senior project manager Derek O’Connor.

The construction team will be led by O’Connor. Others working on the project include: superintendent Sean Dols, assistant project engineer Mike Johnson, and project assistant Amy Jansen.

"We are excited to continue our relationship with MnDOT,” stated Dave Bastyr, Knutson's executive vice president of Minnesota operations.

Knutson was also in charge of the second of this District 6 project, construction of a new 122,000-square-foot maintenance facility, in 2011 to 2012. That was a $19.8 million contract for that phase.

In the past four years, Knutson has won 13 such best value contracts, including building the new City of Rochester Fire Station #2. It will replace the current one by Silver Lake. The new $7.7 million emergency center is being built on Viola Road in the Century Heights area. It's expected to be ready to use by February 2015.

Knutson opened its Rochester office in 1997, though it has a long history working on high-profile projects here. It built the original IBM facility in 1956 as well as Mayo Clinic's Gonda Building, the Ronald McDonald House and Hope Lodge.

June 18, 2014

Baker turned pizza maker hits hits the road with wood-fire oven

Have wood-fire oven. Will travel.

That could be Stephan Jennebach's new motto now that he's added a mobile pizza o10329915_10152411609534524_707966481405501891_oven to his Firebrick Bread business in Zumbrota.

About a month ago, he hit the road with a new custom trailer featuring a wood-fire oven and prep kitchen to make and sell pizzas wherever he'd like. Right now, Jennebach can be found at the Zumbrota Farmers Market on Tuesdays and the Red Wing Farmers Market on Saturdays.

The new offering has gone over so well that he needed to hire three employees to keep the pizzas moving. However, he's still remaining true to the original vision of Firebrick Bread and continues to bake an array of hand-made breads in his wood-fired oven at his home. He first fired up the bakery business in 2012.

His menu includes five types of pizzas. He's using some local produce on them now and hopes to do more of that as the project progresses. It takes about five minutes to make and then bake a pizza in the 700-degree wood-fired oven.

Jennebach says adding the kitchen-on-wheels made sense given the local hunger for wood-fired pizza.

"When I told people about Firebrick Bread, the first question always was, 'Do you make pizzas, too?,'" he said.

Since regulations wouldn't allow him to do that at his home, Jennebach started looking into putting an oven on a trailer and eventually turned to a company that specialized in them.

"It was a big investment, but it's one I believe will pay for itself," he said. "I can take it anywhere in Minnesota."

Right now he's sticking to weekly appearances at the two farmers markets and an occasional special event. That, combined with his weekly bread baking, has pretty much filled up his schedule at this point.

EDITOR'S NOTE

101207jennebachonaballLong-time readers may recognize the Jennebach name, since Stephen was a very enthusiastic commenter on this blog during its early years.

He was also pretty much the only one who would act on my goofy attempts at photo contests. I was just ahead of my time with 'selfies.' Heh. His best submission involved the big red balls in front of what was then the brand-new south Target store.

March 19, 2014

Flamingos + Elks = Bingo

After months of waiting, a Rochester nonprofit finally has scored permission to move to a new home.

Flamingo Bingo, which raises money for the Rochester Senior Center, has been given the green light by the Minnesota Gambling Control Board to move into the Elks Lodge 1091 at 1652 U.S. 52 North in the Hillcrest Shopping Center.

FlamingobingoIt's moving out of its long-time leased home at 2828 U.S. 52 North, which was sold to Luther Automotive Group in January.

Deb Nusbaum, Flamingo Bingo's charitable gaming manager, says the bingo center will call its final game at its current site at 1 p.m. on March 30. Then, Nusbaum and her team of 16 employees will move the operation.

She plans to kick off the new round of games at the Elks Lodge on April 4. Work on the new Flamingo Bingo site is underway.

The Elks Lodge members are very positive about bringing Flamingo Bingo into its facility, according to the club president.

"It's multi-faceted for us," said Chris Holloway, when the plan first was announced in December. "We have an excess of space that we don't use on a daily basis. We're both charitable organizations. There's a lot of crossover in our clientele. Plus it brings in additional revenue."

ElkslodgeNow that the move is in motion, the question is what will happen to the 42-year-old building where Flamingo Bingo has been been based since it opened in 2007.

Twin Cities-based Luther Automotive bought the building for $950,000 on Jan. 17. Luther also owns the nearby Park Place Motors dealership on the same frontage road.

Luther's Linda McGinty said the company does not have a specific plan for the site yet.

McGinty, director of real estate and development at Luther Automotive Group, declined to discuss whether its possible plans could include an expansion of Park Place Motors or possibly bringing a new dealership into the market.

However, she did acknowledge that Luther will "probably eventually remove the building."

January 22, 2014

It's hailing taxis in Roch.

Rochester's Yellow Cab rolled out a bunch on new Prius V hybrids Tuesday to much fanfare among local business leaders and Mayo Clinic.

YellowcabpicI trotted out to the first leg of Yellow Cab's Prius tour at Rochester Toyota. Fairly interesting. Here's a link to that article.

I had reported in June that Yellow Cab planned to switch over to hybrids. Back then, Med City Taxi was part of the transportation alliance that bought Yellow Cab. So two of Rochester's three cab companies were under the same corporate umbrella ... for a while.

Best Ride, the updated version of the transportation alliance that rolled out the new cars Tuesday, does not include Med City Taxi owner Tim and Tina Fliehr as before.

That means Rochester truly has three cab companies, Yellow Cab, Med City Taxi and Rochester Taxi, vying for the predicted DMC boom in bodies trying to get around this city.

The websites of the firms seem to put that growing competition on display.

• Yellow Cab -  yellowcabmedcity.com

• Med City Taxi - medcitytaxi.com

• Rochester Taxi - Rochester Taxi seems to only be on Facebook. It bills itself as the "people's taxi company."

Yellow Cab's use of Med City in its web address struck me as interesting and seemingly superfluous.

YellowcabwebsiteAnd then there's Yellow Cab's slogan on its website:

"Yellow Cab, your med-city taxi"

MedcitytaxiHhhmmmm.... sounds familiar. Heh.

As a side note to this little deal, I'd like to point out that my editor despise the use of the phrase Rochtaxi"Med City" to describe Rochester.

Using it in proper names is OK, but saying something like "The Med City is all aflutter with buzz about Mayo Clinic's DMC" is a no-no.

It was probably my overuse of the catchy phrase that caused it to fall out of favor. Sorry about that.

What do you think of Medropolis instead? Heh.

March 25, 2013

Is Holiday taking over Roch.'s SA gas stations? Looks like it

The buzz is that the Med City will have a lot more Holidays in its future, but don't expect any changes to the calendar.
Superamerica_0For the past few weeks, folks in the know have been saying that Bloomington, Minn.-based Holiday Station Stores plans to take over the seven SuperAmerica convenience stores in the near future, possibly by the beginning of May.

One version goes even further and says Holiday plans to build two additional new stations here to bring its total of Rochester sites to nine.

Holiday's head office as well as SA's corporate parent, Northern Tier Energy in Ridgefield, Conn., have not been helpful as I've tried to confirm or disprove this high-octane story, which is getting such good mileage at the pumps.

The only response I've received is this email from Christine Carnicelli of Northern Tier, "As a general policy we do not comment on our business operations so we would prefer not to provide any details on this matter."

Nonetheless, evidence is building that Holiday is indeed gearing up to roll into the Rochester market in a big way.
16491310
Holiday Station Stores Inc. has filed a permit with the city of Rochester to build a station on the open land at the corner of West Circle Drive Northwest and Valleyhigh Road Northwest. That would put it right next to Ford-Metro Glass and across West Circle from Mayo Clinic's Superior Drive Support Center.

With CostCo's move into the area acting as a catalyst to spur other nearby retail projects, that seems to be a pretty good spot to put a station.

A search on Holiday's website for Rochester locations comes up with the single station at the entrance to the Cub Food Plaza at U.S. 14 and 15th Avenue Southeast.

Holiday took over that station in October 2011. Before that change, Holiday had been absent from this market for five years with its last Med City station closing in January 2006. That one was later transformed into the Beer Bellyz bar, along Civic Center Drive Northwest.

While the website lists only one station, Holiday's list of job openings tells a very different story.

Holiday is taking applications for eight Rochester locations. The addresses match the city's seven SuperAmericas and the one active Holiday station.

This shift might mean a change to the calendars after all.

Mark this spring as the start of the "Great Med City Gas War" between Holiday and Rochester's reigning C-store champ, Kwik Trip.

March 18, 2013

Flurry of activity at forlorn, orphan lot

So a sharp-eyed reader recently spotted a crew quickly putting up a security fence around the forlorn and often forgotten parking lot without a development, Willow Creek Market at south 48th Street, across U.S. 63 from Shoppes on Maine.

WillcreeklotAfter about six or seven years without any activity, a new fence definitely caught my attention.

When checking it out, i.e. snooping, I spotted some new cars parked in a corner of the lot. When I realized that all of the vehicles were made by Mercedes, the light bulb finally clicked on over my head and this thought bubble soon joined it.

"Hhhmmm... the new Mercedes of Rochester dealership that is getting close to opening across the highway still has its lot Willow full of construction machines. But they would need to be bringing in inventory to prepare for the opening…"

It seems a safe bet that Mercedes is staging its cars on the lonesome orphan lot, while construction wraps up.

Temporary or not, the activity seems positive for the site. Rochester's Hamilton Real Estate is the listing the property these days.