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Complex planned at Cascade Creek

As many questioning commuters have noted, what was 10 homes is now two acres of dirt sandwiched between Rochester's Civic Center Center Drive and Cascade Creek.

By next fall, look for that spot to be occupied by a three-story complex with 40 apartments, a child-care center and five townhomes.

This is the $12 million Cascade Creekproject, spearheaded by the nonprofit housing group First Homes.

First Homes, part of the Rochester Area Foundation, has been working on the project since the 2004 Imagine Kutzky program found that many people believed that area to be blighted and in need of re-development.

Three developers — Metro Plainsof the Twin Cities, Lumber Oneof St. Cloud and child care provider New Horizons— are creating the three pieces of this plan.


Metro Plains is creating the apartment complex, which will also include about 2,000 square feet of space for a commercial tenant. Rent for the apartments will range between $600 to $800.

As for the retail space, Chris Flood, the Foundation's program officer, says the hope to line up an active place such as a coffee shop.

Lumber One is building the complex with five townhomes. They will be marketed to buyers for between $170,000 to $200,000.

First Homes acquired all of the property for about $1.2 million and worked with folks in the neighborhood to plan the project. However, the nonprofit's leaders say it is not developing Cascade Creek.

"We do not consider ourselves a developer. People think we are, but we are just not," says  Sean Allen, executive director of First Homes and assistant director of the Rochester Area Foundation. "We consider ourselves a catalyst for development."

This week the three developers will wrap up purchasing the property from Foundation.

Willy Wednesday

Rochester's newest bar and grill, Fat Willy's, will start throwing its weight around next Wednesday.


Bill Hendersonis planning to open the doors of his new place at 4325 Maine Ave. S.E. in the Shoppes on Mainearea  at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Walking in the door, customers can expect to be surrounded by a hot-rod garage atmosphere. And they should expect a lot of the colors of Henderson's favorite college team.

"People will see a lot of black and yellow chairs," he says, in honor of his Iowa Hawkeyes.

"And I'll get a maroon one for my Minnesota friends," says Henderson.

Look for a 21-foot curved wooden bar made from walnut. It is the creation of two local master carpenters, Keith Peterson and Butch Bardwell.

Fat Willy's staff of 17 will serve up burgers and sandwiches every day along with other bar food like shrimp boils on the weekend.

Biz buzz

I may not be a doctor, but I write about them.


And the symptoms I have been seeing lately have lead me to make the diagnosis that an outbreak of a new medical operation is imminent in the Med City's downtown.

I know there is already an abundance of medical mastery in the center of city. However, I think more is on the way, coming quickly.

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