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261 posts categorized "Wheels news"

July 08, 2016

Old Abe Coffee to park the cart, open a shop

A high-profile member of Rochester's small food/drink cart community has lined up a permanent home.

Old Abe Coffee Co., which serves cold brew coffee and unique food, is a familiar sight in downtown Rochester. Now Abe Sauer is planning to set up shop in a fixed address near Rochester's Cooke Park. He eventually will move into a house-turned-commercial building at 832 Seventh St. NW. Westwood Realty last occupied that spot.

Old+abe+serving+4The new place will be called Old Abe at Cooke.

"I am very happy to announce Old Abe is playing fair and is now a property tax-paying Rochester business," stated Sauer via email. "Old Abe at Cooke will be an extension of what I have been doing on the trike. Fun and food and fun food (and our popular cold brew coffee). It will be goofy. Maybe a little unpredictable."

Beside serving coffee and food, he wants to create a bike-friendly, fun spot for families near a park and the growing Cooke Park arts district.

"I hope to create a social space for the neighborhood and Cooke Park users. Activating Cooke Park will be a goal as it’s one of Rochester’s best located parks, on the bike path, and canopied in shade," he wrote. "In particular, I want to create a place for young families that will, if all goes as planned, include a dedicated kids playroom so parents can enjoy their meal without fighting a toddler at the table. It will also include an expanded menu influenced by both my own vegetarian-leaning diet and my many years in Asia."

Sauer doesn't have a timeline for parking the cart and opening the new shop. The first step will be renovating the 1950s house with the help of Rochester architect Adam Ferrari of 9.Square. He estimates the earliest he'll be able to open is later this fall.

So why the decision to park his anachronistic coffee trike/cart?

"First and foremost, I needed space to grow. But also I want to create something distinctly geared for the thousands of younger families in Rochester that often get lost in the food and beverage landscape. I also want to create a fun space for Rochester residents that are NOT focused solely on the downtown and immediate area," said Sauer.

 

May 23, 2016

Auto Techs to close at end of June

After 24 years in the fast lane, Roger Gansen is ready to slow down a bit.

Gansen has owned and run Auto Techs, a repair and sales shop, in Rochester since 1992. He has operated at his current location at 650 S. Broadway for about 12 years.

11146464_358227187720296_512149979420663139_oNow he has a "Closing soon" sign out front as he prepares to sell his property to the Lamont Cos. He plans to close the doors of his two-man shop at the end of June.

"It's kind of tough," said Gansen of the closure.

However, part of him is looking forward it.

"I'm ready for a change," he said. "I think this is kind of an opportune time for it."

The big question is will he re-open the popular Auto Techs somewhere else. That's a question he really doesn't have answer for.

"As of right now, everything is up in the air," Gansen said on Friday. "But right now, I'm looking forward to slowing down a bit."

While he is slowing down, the activity on that block of South Broadway is quickly ramping up this summer.

Lamont Cos. are the developers who recently purchased the adjacent Clarion Inn for $5 million with plans to build a newCandlewood Suites hotel and retail center. A liquidation sale of all of the hotel's furnishings and fixtures is underway.

Based in South Dakota, Lamont Cos. are the same developers who built Rochester's Holiday Inn by the Miracle Mile shopping center on Second Street in 2012.

September 08, 2015

Clements to build 2nd dealership for Subaru

Clements Chevrolet Cadillac Subaru is looking south to build an $8 million dealership just for Subaru, its fastest growing brand.

The 87-year-old, locally owned dealership has purchased a 9.5-acre site covered in grass and clover at the corner of 48th Street Southeast and St. Bridget Road Southeast. That's just east of Mills Fleet Farm.

Clements Managing Partner John Wade expects construction to begin next year and hopefully wrap up in the fourth quarter of 2016. Wade owns Clements with partners Jack Remick, Dave Remick and Dan Penz. 

09-04 Subaru enWade described the planned dealership as an "eco-friendly, state-of-the-art sales and service campus" that will face the 48th Street intersection at a northwest angle.

The owners say the explosive growth of its Subaru brand, with its sales doubling in the past year, is driving this plan to spin a second dealership site off the main dealership at the entrance of Rochester's Apache Mall.

"This expansion is what we need to keep up with the service and sales demands of our customers," explained Wade.

Nationally, Subaru sales are exploding in the United States. Subaru reported 45 consecutive months of year-over-year growth in August, when it sold 52,679 vehicles for the month. It was the 25th consecutive month where Subaru sold more than 10,000 Foresters and the 18th consecutive month where it sold more than 10,000 Outbacks

In 2011, Clements built a 4,200-square-foot showroom adjacent to its main dealership to spotlight Subaru, but the demand has outgrown its capacity to display 40 vehicles. Todd Penz, who will serve as the general sales manager of the Clements Subaru dealership, says the new lot will be able to house more than 370 vehicles.

Clements, which now has 115 employees, expects to add 20 new positions to staff the new site. Wade estimates that equals an additional of more than $1 million in payroll for Rochester.

He also expects the addition of the second site will bring Clements' annual property tax contribution to more than $500,000.

"This multimillion dollar commitment is a major investment as well as an expression of confidence in the Rochester area marketplace, which in the end expands the local tax and employment base," said Gary Smith, the president of Rochester Area Economic Development Inc.

The new dealership will join Rochester Toyota and Mercedes-Benz of Rochester in the growing Shoppes on Maine area off US 63, which is booming along with the rest of the city. A 360-unit apartment complex called Maine Heights has been proposed right behind the Clements Subaru property. A $35 million housing project called The Boulders, which will include 144 apartments and 80 townhouses, also is planned.

"There's great growth in the area with a strong economic base," said Wade. "We're a regional dealership with customers throughout southeastern Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. This is a good crossroads for us to build this new dealership."

July 09, 2015

Development exploding in Rochester's Shoppes on Maine area

Downtown Rochester is not the only area being eyed by developers. 

It appears that Shoppes on Maine in south Rochester is exploding with development these days.

I wrote about a 211 apartment complex proposed for the area on Wednesday plus there's already a massive housing project called The Boulders already under construction, which will have 144 apartments and eight buildings with 10 townhouses in each.

FireShot Capture - Google Maps - https___www.google.com_maps_@43.9547185,-92.4647416,15zMeanwhile, yet another group of developers met with residents of the Maine Avenue neighborhood on Tuesday to discuss their plans for a 359 unit apartment complex slated the empty land across from Mills Fleet Farm store.

I don't know much about the Fleet Farm apartment complex yet, but should have more on it soon.

Beside more than 700 apartments, the buzz in the Shoppes on Maine is that a new car dealership could be revving up for the land around 48th Street and St. Bridget's Road. 

There is a lot of interest in real estate in that area right now, so it's possible that a new name might be on the road to join Rochester Toyota Scion and Mercedes Benz of Rochester in Shoppes on Maine.

June 09, 2015

Roch. repair shop get new name, but everything else remains same

The name over the door at Rochester's 434 South Broadway is new, but everything else about the auto repair shop is the same as it was before.

The Eastman Auto Repair sign recently went up on the small shop along the Zumbro River, though customers of Zeus Auto Repair will find nothing unchanged, said Zane Zodrow.

06092015eastmanautoZodrow, who owned Zeus Auto, says he sold the business to Gay Eastman at the start of 2015. The new sign just reflects that sale. He remains the manager of the three person, full-service shop.

"It's all the same. Honesty is still our main thing. We still treat people how we would want to be treated," he said. "We offer the same warranties."

However, Zodrow does a see a change coming down the road in the future.

The shop's building, which is owned by local investors, stands where Associated Bank would like to build a branch. That proposed project is still scheduled to go before the Rochester City Council after being rejected by the Rochester-Olmsted Planning and Zoning Commission.

Whether the bank branch goes forward or not, Zodrow does anticipate that the current shop will be  eventually be displaced by some sort development.

"We are looking for a new location," he said.

Zeus Auto Repair has operated at the prominent South Broadway location since 2010, when Zodrow moved from his previous spot on on Second Street Southwest.

June 04, 2015

Furniture Superstore to add used cars to Rochester's 'Car Row'

A little more than a year after turning a former Menards store into the Furniture Superstore, Jim Sather is ready to add used cars to his northwest Rochester facility.

In 2014, Sather and Mark Byer moved their Furniture Superstore and America's Mattress stores into the ex-Menards facility at 5150 U.S. Highway 52 North. Now, Sather has plans to convert the southwest corner of the store's massive parking area into the Auto Superstore, a used car dealership.

Logo"I've been thinking about it for a couple years. This is where all the car dealers are," he said referring to the "Car Row" line of dealerships along the frontage road.

Sather said he hopes to be licensed and ready to open by the end of June. Once licensed, Auto Superstore will start acquiring vehicles with the goal of having about 10 on the lot when it opens.

The dealership will be staffed by two and will use a separate entrance to the store as a base of operations.

As far as the Furniture Superstore goes, Sather says it has done "exceptionally well" since it moved last summer from its original home at 3185 41st St. NW. The opportunity to move to the current location opened up in April 2014, when Menards moved to a newly completed $12 million store near the intersection of U.S. 52 and 65th Street Northwest.

The independent Furniture Superstore opened in 2003. Sather and Byer added America's Mattress in 2005.

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.