$3 million deal clears way for Discovery Square apartments

A $3 million real-estate deal clears the way for a new apartment/commercial development near Rochester's Soldiers Field Park.

Vance Vinar Sr. and Barb Vinar, of Faribault, bought five parcels on Third Avenue Southwest and Fourth Avenue Southwest from Rochester's 3rd Avenue Holdings LLC. The Vinars made the purchase through Residence at Discovery Square LLC. It included two of the Third Avenue Loftsapartment buildings on the west side of Third Avenue and three adjacent single-family homes.

The parcels included:

• 506 Fourth Ave. SW

• 509 Third Ave. SW


• 507 Third Ave. SW

• 514 Fourth Ave. SW

• 519 Third Ave. SW

While the land changed hands, the details for the future project on the site still are being worked out.

"There is not timeline for this project yet. Now's the time we roll up our sleeves and work out a plan," said Vance Vinar Sr.

Early tentative plans were presented to Rochester's Committee on Urban Design and Environmentin January by the Vinar's architect, Teresa McCormack. McCormack, the owner of The Urban Studioin Rochester, described the complex with an estimated 150 market-rate apartments plus mixed-use commercial space.

Vinar says that's still the basic vision, though many factors could change the plans. Now that the land is acquired, those plans will start to be hammered out.

When McCormack presented to CUDE, the possible project was called Lofts on Third. Now, the Vinars have purchased the land with a corporation called Residence at Discovery Square.


Does that mean the development is taking on the name of the nearby Destination Medical Center's subdistrict, Discovery Square?

"Not necessarily," Vinar said. "The name is up in the air."

Discovery Square is expected to cover about a six-block area including First, Second, Third and Fourth avenues. One of six subdistricts in Mayo Clinic's DMC initiative, Discovery Square is described as the hub for biomedicine, research and technology innovation. It is expected to house a variety of research firms working with Mayo Clinic. Work on it is expected to start next fall.

Targeting people who will work in the new area makes sense for the Residence at Discovery Square project. DMC and current trends are emphasizing creating areas where people can work, play and live.

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