Major housing project proposed in northwest Rochester
A leader of the investment group that owns the Kahler hotels is proposing a major housing and commercial development on about 100 acres in northwest Rochester.
Javon Bea's Oronoco Investments LLC has proposed a mixed-use development called Hunter Valley Estates at 55th Street and 18th Avenue Northwest. The project was discussed Wednesday at the city's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.
Requests for zoning changes were scheduled to be considered at the meeting, but Bea's engineering consultant, WSB & Associates Inc., asked for a continuance until Jan. 13 to adjust the plans due to a variety of concerns from city staff about possible floodplain problems and other issues.
Bea said this morning he believes Hunter Valley will address major "unmet needs" for housing in Rochester.
"There is a very severe workforce shortage. It's not coming; it's already here. We need more housing, more affordable housing," he said. "With more housing, we can obviously recruit more workforce."
Before Wednesday's meeting, the engineering firm had told neighborhood residents that the earliest construction could start is next fall. The development would feature housing surrounded by commercial development.
It's the first major development project by Bea, who leads the investment group that bought the Kahler Hospitality Group in 2012. Kahler Hospitality also manages the Kahler Apache hotel, formerly Ramada Hotel & Conference Center, at 1517 16th St. SW.
Bea also was involved in plans to develop a hotel along Second Street Southwest near Saint Marys Hospital. He's still a principal member of 2nd Street Parking LLC, which owns the property along Second Street at 13th Avenue where another developer has proposed a hotel project.
While Bea is a prominent Rochester business leader and lives in Oronoco, his primary job is as CEO of the MercyRockford Health System, based in Janesville, Wis., and Rockford, Ill.