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More parking at former Rochester Kmart and AMPI sites finds support

Rochester Planning and Zoning Commission recommends approval of second phase of parking plan involving lease to Mayo Clinic.

Drone - AMPI Site
Camegaran LLC plans to create more parking on the north side of the former AMPI site in Rochester. Photo taken March 25, 2022.
Andrew Link / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — A planned expansion of temporary Mayo Clinic employee parking near the former Kmart building received unanimous support from the Rochester Planning and Zoning Commission Wednesday.

“This application is a revision of our original Phase 2 application,” developer Patrick Regan told the commission.

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The plan adds 642 parking spaces to 741 approved in early 2020.

“When we had the Phase 1 parking lease approved in February of 2020, it was anticipated that we would study the traffic impacts of that Phase 1,” he said, saying the goal was to determine traffic impacts on the nearby neighborhood.

A recent traffic study reportedly indicates the new spaces are expected to generate 1,288 additional daily vehicle trips to the two lots, but the added employees won’t spur the need for more buses or a change in existing routes.

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Regan said the goal is to maintain the original intent of the two phases presented in 2020.

Regan’s company, Camegaran LLC, initially planned to expand the leased parking by demolishing the Kmart building, but the company purchased the former AMPI site in late 2020, which opened a path to a new direction.

The new plan will demolish a portion of the former retail complex, opening space for parking east and west of the former Kmart store. A total of 247 spaces will be added to the lot.

Drone - Mayo Clinic Parking lot
The former Kmart site has been repaved and striped to provide parking for Mayo Clinic employees in Rochester. (Andrew Link / alink@postbulletin.com)

Another 395 planned parking spaces will be moved to the north end of the former AMPI site, just south of an existing Mayo Clinic employee lot near Third Avenue Southeast, which is commonly known as the Fullerton lot.

Regan said the change maintains options for the Kmart building and shifts some of the new parking spaces away from neighbors to the south and east of the former retail store.

On the AMPI site, he said several small steel buildings will be razed to provide room for the new parking, which would also make way for a potential extension of Sixth Street Southeast in the future.

“It allows us to clear the deck there on the northern end of the AMPI site,” he said.

A small-area plan for 61 acres that include the former Kmart and AMPI sites, as well as surrounding areas, calls for a variety of housing, commercial and other uses in the future.

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Other city discussions also point to the creation of a potential Sixth Street bridge over the Zumbro River and a proposed rapid-transit hub near Third Avenue Southeast and Sixth Street.

Community Development Deputy Director Ryan Yetzer said the proposed use of the sites for parking doesn’t stand in the way of future development.

Regan agreed, pointing to the limited terms of its lease with Mayo Clinic.

“The timeframe for redevelopment of the property has not been delayed,” he said.

The lease signed in 2020 calls for Camegaran to submit a development plan to the city by the end of 2024, with the expectation that the parking lease will end in 2028.

Camegaran is also expected to provide preliminary construction documents for the Kmart site to the city by the end of 2029.

With the Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation to approve the change in parking plans at the former Kmart and AMPI sites, the request is expected to be presented to the Rochester City Council with a public hearing during its 7 p.m. July 18 meeting in council chambers of the city-county Government Center.


What happened: Rochester Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend an updated plan to create leased parking spaces at the former Kmart and AMPI sites.

Why does this matter: A 2020 plan called for expansion of parking at the Kmart site, but the owner's purchase of the nearby AMPI site provides an option to shift the parking spaces.

What's next: The Rochester City Council is expected to hold a public hearing regarding the request during its July 18 meeting


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 rpetersen@postbulletin.com.
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