Local developers have purchased a high-profile piece of open land on Rochester’s North Broadway, with plans to build an affordable housing/mixed-use complex.
Dirk Erickson and his mother, Marcia Bouquet, purchased five empty parcels at Civic Center Drive and North Broadway, across from the Kemps dairy facility, for $2.15 million. The Bouquet/Erickson family is an active investor in Med City real estate.
They purchased the property from real estate investor/developer Mark Kramer, of New Hampton, Iowa. That spot at the entrance to downtown has long been eyed by developers as a prime location.
While the project, called Bryk on Broadway, is still in the early planning stages, commercial Realtor Ben Kall described the ultimate goal as a four- to five-story, mixed-use complex with about 140 apartments and commercial space. The building would include heated underground parking for tenants and plenty of parking for guests and local businesses. Kall represented the buyers in the deal and is part of the Rochester-based development team.
“The Bryk on Broadway Apartment project was created with specific ideas in mind," Erickson wrote in a statement about the plans. "Not only will the project provide Rochester with more affordable/workforce housing, it will create a beautiful gateway to downtown.
“Although plans are not yet finalized, meetings with city planning and DMC have been very positive, and the owners are very confident that a blighted site will soon be transformed into a tiny gem in the ‘fairest little city in the land,” Erickson wrote.
The “fairest little city” was how Erickson’s grandmother, Vivian Marmesh, always described Rochester.
“We look forward to providing as much affordable housing as we can within the project. It is perfectly placed along the new TOD (Transit Oriented Development) corridor and is an exciting way to integrate affordable housing and commercial space close to downtown,” Erickson added.
Given the property's proximity to the Canadian Pacific railroad tracks, Kall said the developers are reaching out to other property owners in the area about supporting a “Quiet Zone” ordinance for trains.
“There are hundreds of homes, apartments and hotels in a very close proximity to the trains passing through downtown at all hours of the day and night and everyone should be able to sleep at night without train horns blowing,” he said. “We have seen other progressive cities work towards passing this ordinance and we would love to work with the city and other property owners to accomplish this.”
That swath of land was collected under one owner and cleared of buildings by Les Nelson, of Clear Lake, Iowa.
That land once had three structures on it, including the 140-year-old MLT Group building at 411 N. Broadway. Nelson purchased it from Mike and Dawn Pruett for $600,000 in 2015.
In 2001, he purchased the 401 N. Broadway building next to the railroad tracks for $112,500. The tan block building by the railroad track previously housed Innovations Hair Studio. Nelson also bought the 407 N. Broadway building in 2002 for $273,000. From 2011 to 2013, it housed Karma Consignments. It is best known by longtime Rochester residents as where the Asian Food Store operated until it moved to Seventh Street Northwest in 2008.
Nelson demolished all three buildings from the site in 2015 and 2016.
Kramer, under the corporate name of MICDAV, LLC, purchased the land for $1.8 million in 2017.