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New owners give Blondell Motel an extreme makeover

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The new local owners of the Blondell Motel, built in 1972 at 1406 Second St. S.W., are making a "significant investment" to upgrade the Rochester landmark.
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To better compete in today's market, new owners are upgrading a dated Rochester landmark hotel from floor to ceiling.

The Blondell Motel at 1406 Second St. S.W. stands in the shadow of Mayo Clinic's Saint Marys Hospital. It was originally built by the Blondell family in 1972, and an expansion in 1985 doubled the complex's size.

The 58-room hotel is largely unchanged since the 1980s, even as several newer hotels have been built by major chains nearby.

New local owners are making a "significant investment" to put the older hotel back into the game to compete with newer properties, says Nick Pompeian, of Realty Growth Inc.

Pompeian is overseeing the renovation and re-branding of the Blondell for a group of investors and his father, Ed Pompeian. The elder Pompeian did similar upgrades to the Brentwood Inn & Suites and Brentwood on Fifth hotels in downtown Rochester.

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The plan is to re-brand the Blondell to be in sync with the other Brentwood properties, though an exact name has not been decided on yet.

Everything in the guest rooms — carpet, beds, lighting, televisions, paint and furniture — is being upgraded, as well as the hallways and lobby. The number of rooms is also increasing to 63 by absorbing an apartment that was in the hotel.

"It is a complete change," Nick Pompeian said while touring empty rooms stripped down to the concrete. "There is so much potential. We want to offer a really great property that is fresh."

Staff will grow, too

Todd Stellmaker, the new general manager of the hotel in transition, says he has a staff of 10, but he expects that number to increase as the redone rooms come online.

Work has been under way for weeks on the third floor of the hotel. While it is closed to guests, the second floor is still in use. When the 23 rooms on the third floor are finished, the work will move to the second floor.

Pompeian anticipates all the rooms should be complete in March, with the entire project wrapping up in April.

Though the investors are spending a lot to make the hotel nicer and more modern, the plan is to keep the room rates on the lower end of the spectrum.

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"The Blondell has always been considered an affordable choice and we intend to continue that," says Pompeian.

When the weather allows, work on the brick exterior will begin. The flat roof will be updated with new design features and new signage.

On the street level, the commercial spaces in the complex are also being refreshed.

Eatery upgrades

The Crown Restaurant & Lounge, on Second Street Southwest, is owned separately from the hotel. However, Charlie Brannon is making his own changes to match the hotel's renovation, and he's changing the name to Charlie's Eatery & Pub.

"We're going to follow suit. We'll have new furniture, new carpet and a new look, but the same good, old-fashioned food," says Brannon, who has owned the 130-seat restaurant and bar since 1987.

Brannon expects the changes in the restaurant to start in the next month or two and be complete in spring. He'll remain open during the remodel.

Another 6,000 square feet of high-profile commercial space on the main level of the hotel is also being refreshed. While the well-known Carla's Gifts shop closed recently, Pompeian says a new tenant for that space is expected to be announced soon.

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Overall, four of the five spaces are leased with tenants like A Shared Smile and IdeaCom, making the transition from the old Blondell to the new version.

 

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