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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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Updated: California developer looks to double down on Rochester

Updated: California developer looks to double down on Rochester

A Newport Beach, Calif. developer wants to make a splash in Rochester.

This week we learned that EKN Development Group is working on two new projects within the Destination Medical Center district. One proposal calls for redeveloping the Holiday Inn along South Broadway. The other concept is a hotel and condominium complex near Mayo Clinic's St. Marys Campus.

The projects — neither of which have been reported on until now — are in addition to a proposed development for the American Legion site downtown. That plan, which has already received preliminary approval from the Rochester City Council, calls for a 259-room Extended Stay Hotel at the corner of First Avenue and Civic Center Drive.  

According to the agenda packet for Thursday's DMC Corporation Board meeting, negotiations regarding the sale of the Legion site are ongoing. County records show the property was valued at just over $1 million in 2017. EKN hopes to have the project wrapped up by June 2019.

 Rendering of proposed Extended Stay Hotel  

Rendering of proposed Extended Stay Hotel  

Renovating the Holiday Inn

EKN, according to its website, has enlisted the help of Dallas-based HKS Architects to come up with a conceptual-level plan for the redevelopment of the Holiday Inn property, located at 220 South Broadway. 

The company closed on the property this week. It plans to continue operating the hotel as a Holiday Inn while it pursues its redevelopment plans. Construction on the site could begin as early as this summer.

Ebbie Nakhjavani, EKN's CEO, says the property will be rebranded as a "boutique hotel concept that combines authentic local experiences, modern design and intimate service with the peace of mind and consistency of being a part of the family of one of the world’s largest hotel groups."

"The new Hotel Indigo will provide an iconic and enduring presence on the Rochester Skyline at the heart of the city’s downtown."

The 16-story building, constructed in 1969, is currently home to the Holiday Inn hotel plus retail-level suites and eight floors of condominiums.

St. Marys hotel

The California developer must view Rochester as an untapped market for hotel and condos space. It is also pitching a project in the St. Marys area that would include 150 hotel rooms and 80 residential units.

"EKN’s substantial investment in Rochester is testament to the company’s tremendous confidence in the abilities of the [Destination Medical Center Corporation Board] and the city to successfully execute on an unparalleled vision for the future growth and development of the city's downtown as the Destination Medical Center," Nakhjavani said via email Wednesday.

According to Nakhjavani, EKN is looking to build the project on the site of Virgil’s Auto Clinic & Towing. The business, located directly across the street from St. Marys, recently announced it was shutting down its fuel service operations after more than six decades in business. 

Nakhjavani says it plans to have work done on the project by 2020.

In related news: 

  • The Rochester City Council voted 5-2 Monday night to reject the Heritage Preservation Commission's recommendation that the former Hotel Carlton be designated a "landmark property" under the city's new preservation ordinance. "I didn't feel that it passed the bar, that it met the threshold" for landmark status, said Council President Randy Staver. The property's future remains uncertain.
  • In a public hearing Monday, neighbors raised concerns about the impact of the proposed Bloom waterfront development. Use of the alley space and impact on migrant birds were among the issues brought up. The council voted unanimously to approve a conditional use permit for the project. As we first reported, Bloom is requesting $20 million tax increment financing (TIF) for the project. A final development plan is expected to come before the council this summer. 

Cover: Rendering of Holiday Inn redevelopment

 

The hotel will include a redevelopment program that transforms the property interior and exterior from its current monolithic character to an open, modern and inviting experience that is fully integrated with the street below, and conforms to the DMCC’s and City’s future vision for the City. The ownership is currently planning to be fully converted to the Indigo Hotel in the first quarter of 2019 following an anticipated 8 to 12-month construction period.

We are excited to be a part of Rochester’s future growth and are committed to the vision and prominence of Mayo Clinic as the premier global medical and bio-tech destination and DMCC’s remarkable progress and vision of downtown.

 

The acquisition today, of the Holiday Inn Downtown Rochester, MN, by Newport Beach, California-based EKN Development Group (EKNDevGroup.com), is the third proposed hotel development and redevelopment project in Rochester by the developer. EKN and its partners plan to convert the existing Holiday Inn in downtown to a Hotel Indigo, a lifestyle boutique hotel concept that is part of Intercontinental Hotel Group’s (“IHG” – IHG.com) family of hotel brands.

 

EKN’s other proposed projects in Rochester include the planned construction of an upscale extended stay hotel at the current site of the American Legion post at the southwest corner of Civic Center Drive and First Avenue and the planned construction of an upscale select service hotel at the current site of the Virgil’s Auto Clinic & Towing just across 2nd Avenue from Mayo Clinic Hospital, St. Mary’s Campus at the corner of 2nd Street SW and 11th Avenue SW.

 

EKN’s substantial investment in Rochester is testament to the company’s tremendous confidence in the abilities of the DMCC and the City to successfully execute on an unparalleled vision for the future growth and development of the City's downtown as the Destination Medical Center. The vision for establishing Rochester as the global destination center for health and wellness, is well underway with all the current carefully planned initiatives in progress.

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