Potential tenants for the space that currently houses Dooley’s Pub will be asked what they are willing to pay for the space at the corner of First Avenue Southwest and Third Street.
“Obviously, coming out of the pandemic, we may have to move down a little bit,” Rochester Assistant Administrator Terry Spaeth said of potential rent.
The Rochester City Council unanimously approved making a public request for proposals from potential tenants.
Dooley’s has occupied the space at 255 First Ave. SW since 2010, and the business is in the first year of a five-year extension following its initial 10-year lease.
According to the lease approved by the City Council in 2009, the current rent is $14,261 a month, with the business also responsible for costs associated with the 7,589-square-foot space.
The city estimates tenant costs, which include taxes and utilities, among other expenses, at approximately $60,000 a year.
“Rent would be on top of that,” Spaeth said, noting that the rent has typically helped the city offset debt related to the city’s BioBusiness Center on the same block.
He said prime downtown location and existing restaurant layout make the space ideal for a future food establishment, but the city’s request for proposals for potential tenants leaves the options open.
Council members said they are excited to see ideas for the city-owned space emerge, but Spaeth said the nature of a potential landlord-tenant relationship means some ideas proposed might not become public.
“You want to keep it at a really manageable level,” he said of the process, adding that city staff and the city’s building management representative will likely vet proposals and make a recommendation to the City Council.
While Dooley’s owner Tory Runkle has approximately four years remaining in its current lease extension, Spaeth said the city’s legal staff is working with the owner to end the lease early.
Runkle has cited challenges with closures and reduced business activity linked to statewide order by Gov. Tim Walz.
To help the business overcome some of the challenges, Spaeth said in an email last year that the city abated rent in April, May and June last year, and collected 25% of the rent in July and August, while Runkle was responsible for other building costs.