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Welhaven building purchase opens door for downtown development

Dar Holdings MN LLC of Plano, Texas, has purchased the 2,596-square-foot brick Welhaven Music Co. building tucked between the Center Street city parking ramp and the Masjed Abubakr Al-Seddiq mosque on Monday from John and Jim Welhaven.

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The building that was the home to Welhaven Music on North Broadway has been sold. March 3, 2021. (Ken Klotzbach / kklotzbach@postbulletin.com)

The long-empty former Welhaven Music building sold for $750,000 this week, opening the possibility for more downtown Rochester development.

Dar Holdings MN LLC of Plano, Texas, purchased the 2,596-square-foot brick building tucked between the Center Street city parking ramp and the Masjed Abubakr Al-Seddiq mosque on Monday from John and Jim Welhaven.

The music shop, which had operated in various downtown locations since 1954, moved out in spring 2019. The move was part of a merger with Music Mart, which has a Rochester location at 3552 West River Parkway NW.

Olmsted County estimated the total market value of the 106-year-old building at $415,600 for 2020-2021.

The deal is the culmination of an agreement dating back years that was planned as a first step toward a new Rochester mosque downtown. The plan, first proposed in 2005, was later shelved.

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Purchase of the Welhaven building does not signal that the mosque plan is moving forward, Mosque Chair Rashed Ferdous emphatically stressed this week.

“We have all options on the table. We may or we may not, and that’s all we can say right now,” he said on Wednesday. “We are unable to confirm one way or another right now.”

That original plan called for building a mosque with more traditional architecture, paid for by an anonymous donor from Saudi Arabia. The mosque at 17 N. Broadway, where local Muslims have worshiped since 1997, was expected to be demolished.

Dar Holdings is linked to Texas designer and developer Osman Hussain, who owns a firm called Building Element. The Building Element web page has an old drawing of a 24,000-square-foot mosque project.

"... The project on our site was a concept outside of Rochester that unfortunately didn't work out. We need to update our website," wrote Hussain.

The whole project has been on the backburner for years, and no decision has been made to move forward. However, purchase of the Welhaven building was one piece of that original proposal.

“That plan is up in the air right now. I have no idea right now, which way it will go,” Ferdous said.

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