A $2.2 million real estate deal and demolition permit seem to clear the way for a proposed downtown apartment development.

The former home of Gallery 24/The Creative Salon at 324 First Ave. was purchased by the Ackerberg Group of Minneapolis via Acky-324 LLC on Thursday for $2.2 million. Records show Ackerberg paid the entire purchase price at closing.

The seller was 988 Rochester, LLC, which represented developer North Rock Real Estate. North Rock owned the building for two months, after buying it for $1.2 million at the end of May.

Olmsted County estimated the total market value of the 77-year-old building and property at $605,100 for 2018-2019.

Led by Mike Zirbes and Jeff Brown Jr., North Rock has proposed a six-story, 50-unit apartment complex on the site. The plan has advanced through the city planning process and has a green light to move forward.

It's unclear if North Rock is still part of the project. Ackerberg has already started moving ahead with the development by filing a permit for "Demolition of single story art building and existing parking lot" on Friday.

The permit estimated the value of the demolition at $50,000.

There's no estimated timeline for the start of demolition and then construction. Given the speed with which the new owner filed for the permit, it's very possible work on the demolition will start yet the summer.

Biz buzz

Another recent real estate deal cleared the way for a previously announced groundbreaking in the Med City's booming northwest quadrant.

Tap House Real Estate, LLC purchased a chunk of open land from Northwest Investments of La Crosse, LLC for $948,566.00 on June 21. 

The lot at 2365 Commerce Drive NW is along West Circle Drive Northwest, close to where a new barbecue restaurant called Smoak is being built. First Alliance Credit Union is being a deluxe branch/commercial center on the other side of the Tap House lot.

The purchase allows Christine Stahl and Natalie Victoria, the creators and owners of the popular Tap House bar/eatery in downtown Rochester, to built their second location to be called Tap House West End.

A groundbreaking for the project is expected this summer with the goal of opening the proposed 6,200-square-foot Tap House West End before the end of the year or in early 2020.

Jeff Kiger tracks business action in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota every day in Heard on the Street. Send tips or questions to kiger@postbulletin.com or at 285-7798.

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Jeff has worked at newspapers as a reporter, columnist, editor, photographer and copy editor since 1992. He started at the Post Bulletin in 1999. Kiger is the PB's business reporter and writes a daily column, "Heard on the Street."