Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



Rochester raises stake in downtown student housing tower

Rochester raises stake in downtown student housing tower

Rochester has increased its stake in a planned downtown student housing tower by $250,000.

The city council voted 7-0 Monday to amend a tax-increment financing agreement with GH Holdings to provide $2.75 million.

The nine-story tower, planned in the 300 block of First Avenue Southwest, will include 98 apartments, classrooms and ground-floor retail space. It will replace a parking lot and cluster of single-story storefronts.

According to a city memorandum, the developers — local architect Hal Henderson and Grant Michalitz of Construction Collaborative — have said the project costs have increased. Also, a recent valuation determination by the county assessor increased the assessed value "significantly," which means a higher tax bill.


The higher taxes will channel more money into the TIF district. TIF district revenue will flow to the developer in semiannual payments starting in 2012, continuing until $2.75 million is reached or within 25 years, whichever is less.

Plans call for starting construction this spring, finishing by the summer of 2011, in time for the new school year.

Asphalt plant told to move before 2012

A south Rochester asphalt plant has been given notice — 2010 is the last year it will be permitted to operate.

Neighbors of the plant, on U.S. 63 South near 60th Street, told council members — as they have each year for the last seven years — that they believe emissions from the plant harm their health.

"Seven years ago, I was using one of these very, very little," said Bill Mestad, holding up an asthma inhaler. "Now I use one every day."

The plant, owned by Rochester Sand and Gravel, a division of Mathy Construction, has been upgraded several times over the years in attempts to screen emissions and freshen the scent.

Plant manager Fred Bauer, a vice president of Rochester Sand and Gravel, said the plant ceased operation on one occasion last year, when winds shifted from the plant toward nearby homes.


The plant operated on 62 days last year, producing some 65,000 tons of asphalt, some of which is used for city projects, Bauer said. Plant operations are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Council member Ed Hruska called the discussion "kind of like Groundhog Day."

"Frankly, I'm disappointed they haven't been looking at a plan (to relocate the plant)," Hruska said. "This will be the last time I vote for it."

Other council members expressed similar views.

"We come back every year, and we hear the same things from both sides," said council member Bruce Snyder, who noted that he supported requiring the plant to come up with a relocation plan last year.

"Nothing has changed," Snyder said. "My vote hasn't changed either."

The plant, on a quarry property annexed into the city years ago under residential zoning, requires a conditional use permit. The new permit will expire on Feb. 28, 2011.

Think extends backing for Riverside concerts


Think Mutual Bank's sponsorship of Rochester's Down by the Riverside outdoor concert series has been extended by three years.

The city council on Monday unanimously approved an agreement extending Think's role as main sponsor through 2013. It includes an option to extend the agreement through 2017.

Under the agreement, Think will pay the city $65,000 in 2011 — the 20th anniversary season — and $55,000 per year each of the next two years.

The agreement permits Think to hang banners in the summer months on light poles on the Civic Center Drive bridge and along the river walk to promote the series.

What To Read Next
Get Local