Bakery Flats zoning change sees Rochester Planning Commission support

A nearby property owner cites traffic concern related to potential 210-unit apartment complex on 11th Avenue Northwest site, as few additional public comments are voiced.

Bakery Flats 1.jpg
A preliminary space plan 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.
Contributed / CRW Architecture + Design Group Inc.

ROCHESTER — Potential traffic increases related to the proposed development of an apartment complex on the site of a former Northwest Rochester bakery was the only concern voiced Wednesday amid review of a potential zoning change .

“It’s now really difficult to get to 11th Street,” said Dean Ricter, who owns a Fourth Street Northwest rental home west of the development being considered on nearly 2-acre property at 300 11th Ave. NW.

Preliminary plans for the site, dubbed Bakery Flats, owned by The Prow Co. call for adding up to 210 rental units — split between townhomes and apartments — covering a total of eight floors on the site, with a parking structure proposed to handle up to 140 vehicles.

Ricter told the Rochester Planning and Zoning Commission he worries the added traffic will create backups for his tenants and their neighbors.

Allison Sosa, Rochester Community Development planning supervisor, said traffic engineers looked at the potential use and determined 11th Avenue could handle the additional traffic, but an added review would be considered when final development plans are submitted.


Jose Rivas of CRW Architecture + Design Group Inc., who has been contracted by The Prow Co. and has a nearby office along 11th Avenue, said the traffic anticipated with an apartment complex would be less than what could be developed at the site under current zoning regulations.

Elliot Mohler, a Community Development planner, said the current “light industrial” zoning designation would allow the property owner to replace the current building with a car lot, automotive repair business or retail store at the site, which are considered the heaviest allowed uses available under current conditions.

Civic Drive Plaza, former Rochester Bread Co. site
Civic Drive Plaza, the former Rochester Bread Co. site, at 300 11th Avenue Northwest on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, in Rochester.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

The site is currently home to a nearly 100-year-old building that was originally the home of the former Rochester Bread Co., but the bakery operation has been replaced by a variety of commercial and nonprofit offices in the building.

Brad Krehbiel, president and CEO of the nearby Home Federal Savings Bank, which neighbors the property, said he supports the development.

Without additional comment from approximately 10 in-person meeting attendees and six online observers, the commission unanimously voted to recommend approval of the zoning change.

The request will move to the Rochester City Council for review as early as March 6, which will include a second public hearing regarding the request.

If the zoning change is approved, Rivas said it will likely take months to complete a formal design of the proposed apartments, which would be built with townhome-style units facing 11th Avenue and nearby Cascade Creek. An added six floors of apartments would be included above the potential two-story townhomes.

So far, Mohler pointed out the developer has only submitted a rendering that shows the amount of space that would be used at the site, if the planned apartment complex is built.


“This is not necessarily what the project might look like,” he told the planning and zoning commission.

A final development under the proposed zoning change would likely be approved at the staff level, using existing development requirements and restrictions as a guide. However, a future neighborhood meeting would be required to allow added public input regarding any development proposal.

What happened: The Rochester Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously voted to recommend approval of a zoning change for a nearly 2-acre site in Northwest Rochester that houses the former Rochester Bread Co. building.

Why does this matter: A change from light industrial zoning to high-density residential zoning would allow the property owner, The Prow Co., to develop a proposed 210-unit apartment complex on the site.

What's next: The Rochester City Council will hold a future public hearing and review the requested zoning change.

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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