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Prominent downtown Rochester hotel may become student housing

The UMN regents are considering a proposal to lease nine floors of DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton at 150 South Broadway to house University Minnesota Rochester students. Rochester’s Titan Development and Investments, led by Andy Chafoulias, owns and operates the hotel.

DoubleTree by Hilton
The DoubleTree by Hilton on Broadway Avenue South in downtown Rochester.
Post Bulletin file photo
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ROCHESTER — A University of Minnesota plan to add more than 400 student housing beds in downtown Rochester would take about 200 skyway-connected hotel rooms out of the heart of the Med City.

The UMN regents are considering a proposal to lease nine floors of DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton at 150 South Broadway to house University Minnesota Rochester students. Rochester’s Titan Development and Investments, led by Andy Chafoulias, owns and operates the hotel.

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If approved, the university would lease floors 3 to 11 for $3.06 million annually for 12 years with the gross rent increasing 1.75% a year. The university would also owe a pro rata share of real estate taxes and utilities, which is estimated at $1.01 million for the first year.

The lease is scheduled to begin this summer on Aug. 1, 2023.

The hotel, which is managed by Chafoulias’ Avra Hospitality, would be required to make an estimated $7.63 million in renovations “to convert it from its current use as a hotel into a student housing and dining facility with ancillary recreational space.”

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Under the agreement, Titan would provide "a full-service dining program for 3 meals a day, 7 days a week during the academic year.”

University of Minnesota-Rochester already leases the two top floors of Titan’s Galleria at University Square mall, across Broadway from the DoubleTree. The leasing of the former retail space in the mall for UMR classrooms started in 2007.

No representatives from Titan or the university responded to requests for comment this morning.

Neither were any representatives from the Experience Rochester hospitality group, the Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency or the Rochester Downtown Alliance available to discuss what this shift might mean for downtown Rochester and the push to provide more housing and amenities for people visiting Mayo Clinic.

The proposed lease did not mention what transforming the prominent hotel into a student housing center might mean for Pescara restaurant or the Café Steam coffee shop. Both lease space in the building.

Built in 1988, the hotel previously operated as a Radisson hotel. Gus Chafoulias, Andy Chafoulias' late father, renovated the property and changed the brand to DoubleTree in 2008 .

Jeff Kiger tracks business action in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota every day in "Heard on the Street." Send tips to jkiger@postbulletin.com or via Twitter to @whereskiger . You can call him at 507-285-7798.

Jeff Kiger writes a daily column, "Heard on the Street," in addition to writing articles about local businesses, Mayo Clinic, IBM, Hormel Foods, Crenlo and others. He has worked in Rochester for the Post Bulletin since 1999. Readers can reach Jeff at 507-285-7798 or jkiger@postbulletin.com.
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