405 First Avenue SW

405 First Avenue SW is the site of former Damsy and China Star restaurants.

Another longtime downtown Rochester building is slated to fall to the wrecking ball.

A demolition permit was filed last week for the almost 90-year-old building at 405 First St. SW, the former Damsy Restaurant/China Star/bus depot.

Owner Regan Real Estate LLC of Maplewood plans to demolish the building to clear the way for future development.

In the short term, the site will be used for parking, said Rochester Realtor Merl Groteboer, of Re/Max Results. It's unknown when the demolition will happen.

Groteborer represented the Regan family, who founded and control Premier Bank, when they purchased it for $850,000 in 2017 from Zheng and Xue Jin Zheng. The Zhengs operated the China Star restaurant in the building for nine years, until closing in 2017.

Damsy Restaurant, a Mediterranean eatery owned by Mohamed Maamoun, Taha Has Sakor and Huseein Basree, operated there for about four months before closing at the end of 2017 in the wake of an E. coli outbreak at the restaurant.

The ultimate goal is to eventually re-develop the whole block, said Groteboer. Premier Bank has a nearby branch and office complex at 421 First Ave. SW. The property is within the Destination Medical Center's 16-block Discovery Square subdistrict.

The planned demolition of the 405 First St. SW restaurant comes is the latest in a string of downtown Rochester buildings to be demolished. 

The former home of Gallery 24/The Creative Salon at 324 First Ave. was recently demolished to make way for construction of an apartment complex. The former Travelers Hotel at 426 Second St. SW. and the former Days Inn complex at 6 First Ave. NW. No development plans for been filed for either of those sites.

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

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