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Owners to rehabilitate apartments’ reputation

Group specializes in turning around sites riddled by crime

By Jeff Kiger

jkiger@postbulletin.com

Goodbye, Rochester Village and its reputation. Hello, Gates of Rochester and a new $3 million upgrade.

The name of Rochester’s largest apartment complex recently changed to the Gates of Rochester as a new owner took over on Sept. 22.

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The 412-unit complex at 2015 41st St. N.W. is owned by Rochester Investors LLC, a group of housing investors from the Twin Cities led by Jim Soderberg of Soderberg Apartment Specialists and Wade Shatzer of Equimax Real Estate.

"I think this has been the problem property on 41st Street. I think when we are done it will be the nicest one," said Soderberg, who specializes in turning around crime-ridden properties. "It is not nearly as bad as others we’ve done, but it does still have some issues."

Soderberg’s group bought the complex for more than $20 million from Rochester Associates LLC, owned by Bob Lux and Stewart Stender from the Twin Cities. Rochester Associates bought it for about $16 million in 1999.

The new name refers to a plan to make the complex a gated community. That is still subject to city approval. But even if it isn’t approved, the security of the complex will be enhanced in some way, Soderberg said.

Also on the investors’ agenda is completing the renovation of the units started by the previous owners. That means revamping about 277 apartments; Soderberg hopes to do that within six months to a year.

"Speed is everything with this type of project. People need to see the change," he said.

The plan is to replace the smaller of the two swimming pools with a miniature golf course and a small business center; to expand as well as upgrade the fitness center; and to add fences all around the property.

While many things are changing, the manager is not. Scott Eggert, who previously managed the complex for Paramark Real Estate Services, is still the manager. He now works for Equimax Real Estate.

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"With the new owners comes a new direction and a new name," Eggert said. "There was such a stigma with the name ‘Rochester Village,’ even though things are much better."

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