A July 26 deadline for determining whether the former Olmsted County Bank and Trust building is a city landmark remains in play as developers seek approval of a concept that would add two floors to the 103-year-old building.

The Heritage Preservation Commission will review public comments on both topics during a special meeting June 8.

“The landmark designation is required because of their application for demolition,” Molly Patterson-Lundgren, the city’s heritage preservation and urban design coordinator, told commission members Tuesday.

RELATED: Rochester mayor's veto puts former Olmsted County Bank on planned path for review

The city’s heritage preservation ordinance only allows a formal review of changes to a potential landmark after a permit application is submitted. The application can be for changes to the building, land alterations, or demolition.

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A demolition permit is the least costly, since it doesn’t bring the design requirements linked to the other permits.

Building co-owner A.J. Hawkins, who is hoping to sell the property at 7 Second St. SW to Capital Ventures LLC for renovation, said last month the goal of the demolition application was to spur a decision on landmark status.


What happened: Rochester’s Heritage Preservation Commission discussed plans to review the potential landmark status of the former Olmsted County Bank and Trust building.

Why does this matter: Building owners and a developer hope to get approval of a concept that would add two floors to the 103-year-old building for potential reuse as a restaurant, retail space, and possible boutique hotel.

What's next: The commission will hold a public hearing June 8 on whether to designate the building as a landmark and grant a certificate of appropriateness for the proposed expansion plan.


Commission member Mark Carlson called it a “weird way” to force the commission’s hand Tuesday.

“I was a little dismayed that they kept the demolition permit out there, but they are using that to force a decision from us,” he said.

In addition to considering whether to recommend the property as an official landmark, the commission will launch a pilot program June 8, which will allow it to provide a binding review of the concept being proposed for the building.

The owner and potential developer have started the application process for a “certificate of appropriateness,” which would set expectations for the project to be monitored by staff from the city's Community Development Department.

If approved, it will allow the potential building sale to move forward with an expectation that the new floors can be added to the existing building, which is expected to make way for development of a restaurant, retail space, and possible boutique hotel.

Patterson-Lundgren said she will use the next two weeks to compare submitted design concepts with standards established by the U.S. Department of the Interior for review of modifications to properties on the National Register of Historic Places.

The commission isn’t required to uphold the federal standards, but it uses them in its review process.

While the commission has the potential final word on the certificate of appropriateness, it only recommends whether a building is deemed an official city landmark.

The final decision must be made by the Rochester City Council by the July 26 deadline.

Details for accessing the Heritage Preservation Commission’s special June 8 meeting, which is slated to start at 5 p.m., will be posted at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas.