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Construction starts on $38 million downtown project

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A rendering of the $38 million, six-story, mixed-use complex being built in downtown Rochester.
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Work started this week on a $38 million, six-story, mixed-use complex on a downtown surface parking lot on First Avenue Southwest.

Crews working for the Twin Cities-based Opus Development Co. and Titan Development of Rochester fenced off the site and started demolition of the US Bank clock tower at the entrance to the parking lot.

The project, currently known under its working name, Urban on 1st, will include 154 market-rate apartment units and 9,000-square-feet of retail space.

While Minneapolis developer Opus has worked on other Rochester projects, like Shoppes on Maine and Mayo Clinic’s Opus Imaging Research Building, this new development is something different.

"We have been looking for the right housing site in Rochester for a number of years. We were very pleased to develop a partnership with Titan in Rochester, which opened up this opportunity," said Opus Vice President and General Manager Matt Rauenhorst.

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He said the estimated timeline calls for the apartments and retail spots to be ready for tenants during the summer of 2019.

While it’s too early discuss specific retail tenants, Rauenhorst said, "We do have a number of groups we’re talking to."

The development is one of four in the Destination Medical Center district approved for related tax-increment financing. It is slated to receive $3.8 million in TIF.

"Throughout the development process, we’ve had a good partnership with the city and the DMC," he said.

Urban on 1st has been used as the name of the complex through these early stages, but Rauenhorst said an official name is still in development.

The goal for Opus, he said, is to create something new for Med City housing.

The complex’s first level amenities will include a gallery entryway, a main entry lobby, tenant storage as well as a dog wash, bike storage and resident parking. The second level will include a swimming pool, green roof space with seating, fire pit, club room and fitness center. Tenants will also have access to the sixth floor lounge, which is adjacent to the outdoor rooftop deck fitted out with a fire pit. Apartments will be a mix, including studios, penthouse units and furnished units.

"The vision for the project is to bring a level of urban living that is not in Rochester now … The finishes will be consistent with true urban living in the Midwest."

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