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More parking being considered at former Kmart and AMPI sites

Property owner has started discussions related to potential Mayo Clinic parking, but the city has not yet received an application for review.

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 — More Mayo Clinic parking could be heading to the former Kmart and AMPI sites.

Camegaran LLC, which purchased both properties after the businesses tied to them closed, is shifting its plans to add nearly 700 more parking spaces to the 729 it currently leases to Mayo Clinic.

“We hope to have the approval in June and envision having work occur in the summer and activating the parking in the fall,” said Mike Mattingly, a Camegaran principal.

Drone - Kmart parking
There are 729 parking spaces leased to Mayo Clinic at the former Kmart site. Photo taken March 25, 2022.
Andrew Link / Post Bulletin

The company originally planned to demolish the existing Kmart building at 201 Ninth St. SE this year to create more parking spaces, but the emerging plan calls for limiting that work to the west end of the property, which once housed a Salvation Army Thrift Store.

Mattingly said it will provide space for approximately a third of the proposed added parking.

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The remainder will shift to the north end of the former AMPI lot, where some smaller metal buildings are expected to be razed to provide parking closer to the existing Mayo Clinic-owned lot along Third Avenue Southeast.

“We feel that will allow it to be tucked away back there and more positive than what was initially envisioned,” Mattingly said.

Allison Sosa, Rochester planning supervisor, said Community Development has not received the required application for changing uses at the site, but staff has discussed the proposals with Camegaran representatives.

“This new location appears to be less visible to the surrounding neighbors than the previous plans from 2019,” she said.

The plans were discussed with neighbors Thursday evening, and Patrick Regan, president of Camegaran, pointed to the potential for changes in how the new parking spaces could be accessed, if approved.

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While the initial discussion pointed to using the intersection of Sixth Street and Third Avenue Southeast to access the new proposed parking space just south of the existing Mayo Clinic lot and warehouse, neighbors pointed to already heavy traffic at the intersection during weekday afternoons.

“Everyone is obviously leaving work in Rochester and wanting to go home,” said Steve Quam, who owns one of the homes closest to the current Mayo Clinic-owned site with 870 parking spaces.

Regan said the existing traffic study related to parking at the Kmart site was conducted before AMPI closed and Camegaran purchased the property, so changes could be considered.

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“It is something that we can look at now that we do own the property to the north,” he said, adding that Mayo Clinic would ultimately be in charge of the bus routes used to move employees to and from the parking lots.

As plans are being finalized, Mattingly said Camegaran will continue to have discussions with neighbors.

“During the past two years, we’ve had a lot of opportunities to get to know the people in the neighborhood than we did before,” he said, pointing to possible participation in a Sunnyside Neighborhood Association meeting next month.

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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