Bakery Flats heading to design stage

Rochester council approves zoning change to make way for potential 210-unit apartment complex at site of former bakery.

Bakery Flats 2.jpg
A preliminary space plan and concept for a potential apartment complex at 300 11th Ave. NW was submitted to Rochester Community Development as part of a request to change zoning at the site.
CRW Architecture + Design Group Inc.

ROCHESTER — Design work for a proposed apartment complex at the site of the former Rochester Bread Co. building can move ahead with Rochester City Council support.

“This is one of the areas where we would like to see residential development added,” Council President Brooke Carlson said, following a 5-0 vote to support a zoning change for the nearly 2-acre property at 300 11th Ave. NW.

The property’s owner, The Prow Co., is seeking to build a potential 210-unit rental complex at the site, which has been marked for light-industrial use.

Monday’s approval of a change to high-residential zoning makes the development possible, and Bill Tointon, land development director for WSE Massey Engineering and Surveying Ltd., said the decision opens the path for designing the proposed building.

Jose Rivas of CRW Architecture + Design Group Inc., who has been hired to design the apartment complex, said the process is expected to take months, with the potential for construction to start in the fall.


Rochester resident John Kruesel said he hopes Rivas and his employer will take the current design into consideration.

The existing building, which houses a variety of rented office space, was constructed in 1928, using a design by Rochester architect Harold Crawford.

Kruesel said he’s been told the arched features on the exterior of the art deco building were created to mimic a loaf of bread

“The proposed development, which has been named Bakery Flats, has the potential to pay homage to the building’s history and the role that local businesses played in shaping the community’s identity,” he said, suggesting key exterior design elements of the building should be preserved.

Kruesel raised the same issue with the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission last month, but the building is not on the city’s inventory of potentially historic buildings that would be subject to commission review.

Elliot Mohler, a Community Development planner, said Monday that any design elements would be reviewed by city staff after Prow Co. submits a site development plan, with actual building design.

So far, the company has only submitted a rendering that seeks to show the scale of the potential building.

Based on those renderings, council member Kelly Rae Kirkpatrick said she’d like to see a design that goes beyond the proposed eight stories while reducing the overall footprint to add green space.


Rivas said during a neighborhood meeting last month that the eight-story plan was largely based on parking needs while meeting green-space requirements in city code.

“We feel this is the maximum the site will support,” he said of the structure’s size.

Once a final development plan and related design is ready for city staff review, Prow Co. will be required to hold another neighborhood meeting to gather input on the proposal.

What happened: The Rochester City Council approved a zoning change for the site of the former Rochester Bread Co.

Why does this matter: The building's owners, The Prow Co., are planning to develop an apartment complex on the site, which had been zone for light industrial development.

What's next: The developer will be required to hold a neighborhood meeting fro plan review before submitting the final application to the city.

Randy Petersen joined the Post Bulletin in 2014 and became the local government reporter in 2017. An Elkton native, he's worked for a variety of Midwest papers as reporter, photographer and editor since graduating from Winona State University in 1996. Readers can reach Randy at 507-285-7709 or
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