UMR purchases downtown building for $770,000 for its Rochester campus 'master plan'

As part of its “master plan” to eventually develop a Rochester downtown campus, the University of Minnesota Rochester recently paid $770,000 for the former Running Room building and land at 711 S. Broadway.

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As part of its “master plan” to eventually develop a Rochester downtown campus, the University of Minnesota Rochester recently paid $770,000 for the former Running Room building and land at 711 S. Broadway.
Jeff Kiger /Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — The University of Minnesota Rochester recently paid $770,000 for the former Running Room building and land as part of its “master plan” to eventually develop a downtown campus.

The deal, which UMR confirmed was in the works in February , closed on May 11. The university paid Stan and Marian Maass in cash for the 38-year-old building at 711 S. Broadway and four parcels of land on which it stands.

UMR Director of Communication and Marketing Molly Olson said that the building will eventually be demolished.

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That building housed the Running Room store for almost 16 years, until it closed in January 2021. It has been empty since then.

The Maasses purchased the property for $105,000 in 1992 from Taco Bell Corp. The building had originally been a fast food restaurant.


Olmsted County estimated the total market value of the building and land at $481,500 for 2022-2022. That is up from $480,900 the previous year.

“The University of Minnesota considers property in the context of master planning. Acquiring the property at 711 S. Broadway fits within a long-term plan for the University's development and presence in Rochester's Education and Recreation district,” wrote Olson in February in response to questions about the property.

This purchase is a continuation of the original plan to build a 10-acre UMR campus in the First Avenue Southwest area. UMR’s buying spree in the area started in 2009.

At least nine buildings, including the China Dynasty restaurant, a former Burger King/Rico Mex restaurant, the former home of KTTC-TV , the Fourth Street Boxing Gym, the former Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1215, Benny's R-Tic drive-in, a halal meat market and others in the neighborhood have been purchased and demolished as the university moved ahead with the original plan.

UMR used $14 million from the city of Rochester’s local-option sales tax money that was earmarked for establishing a downtown campus.

However, sales tax money was not used in the Maass/Running Room purchase. Olson wrote in February that UMR was paying with university dollars.

In the wake of this purchase, there are only two remaining buildings in the area between Broadway and First Avenue that UMR has not purchased in the past 13 years.

The other two buildings are Scharf Auto Supply/NAPA Auto Parts at 620 First Ave. SW and the Point of View condominiums at 728 First Ave. SW.


Another prominent piece to the UMR campus puzzle is the recently closed Rochester Area Family YMCA complex at 709 First Ave SW.

As properties come up for sale in the Education district, we will weigh the opportunities. We are not currently pursuing a purchase of the YMCA building," wrote Olson this week. "In 2023, we will work with our University of Minnesota System colleagues to revisit and refresh the comprehensive campus plan. We remain committed to keeping our world-class education affordable for our growing student population and to pursuing creative facilities’ solutions with partners."

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

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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
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