Charter leads the charge in northwest Rochester construction

By Jeff Kiger

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

Dirt is moving and multiple construction projects are under way in northwest Rochester. While it is not a boom, it is certainly more construction than has been seen in that quadrant since late 2006 and early 2007.

Today, one of the most prominent projects — a 32,000-square-foot Charter Communications complex — officially kicked off with a groundbreaking. AB Systems started moving at that site in early October.

The complex overlooking Superior Drive Northwest on a hillside by the CineMagic Theatres will include offices as well as warehouse space and a fleet garage. The extensive facility, being developed by Chet Hartman, sits on almost five acres.


Why build?

"We’ve out grown our facilities in Rochester," says Charter spokesman Tucker Carlson. "We’re stacked up like cord wood (in the East Circle Drive Northwest building)."

That building will empty as staff members move to the new complex once it is completed in August. Staffing at Charter’s newer call center complex on Bandel Road Northwest will remain the same.

Due to the space crunch, Charter recently had to move its media advertising sales office out of the East Circle Drive building to an office in southwest Rochester. The new Superior Drive center will allow that staff to be brought back under a Charter office roof.

"That’s a big thing for us," says Tucker. "Bringing everybody back under one roof."

And Charter is not the only company working in the northwest quadrant.

Mayo Clinic warehouses

Mayo Clinic is expanding two of its warehouses — one on Technology Drive within sight of Charter’s project and one on Valleyhigh Drive.


The Technologies Drive warehouse, which is used to store construction materials, furniture and equipment, is expanding from 60,000 square feet to 107,000. Why such a large expansion?

"The growth of the Rochester campus over the past several years and the desire to consolidate storage from several smaller satellite locations has driven the need for additional warehouse space," says Mayo spokesman John Murphy.

Mayo is shooting for a January 2009 completion date.

Additional projects

Some of the other projects include:

  • Olmsted Medical Center’s 102,000-square-foot clinic on 55th Street Northwest.
  • A 124-room Hampton Inn and Suites hotel at Bandel Road and 59th Street Northwest.
  • Minnesota Energy Resources Corp.’s almost-completed 17,000-square-foot complex on Technology Drive Northwest.
  • The George Gibbs Elementary School on 55th Street Northwest.
  • The new Lourdes High School on 19th Street Northwest.
  • Dr. Deborah Knaup’s 5,300-square-foot office building on Superior Drive Northwest

For Knaup, her project puts her endodonist office among several other dental-related operations, but that is not the only reason she chose to build in the area.
"I see a lot of growth and development in this area," she says. "It has great access from major roads."

The finishing work on her building is wrapping up and she expects to see her first patient in the new office Nov. 20. She will also have about half of the building — about 2,500 square feet — available for lease.

Being on a hillside not far from Charter’s complex, Knaup says the location has another nice feature.


"We are away from the congestion of downtown, which is good for my patients," she said. "But where we are, we have a really nice view of downtown."

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