Mark Fischenich

The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Date: Monday, January 20, 2014

The final design of the seven-story office tower that will rise this winter from the hole at the intersection of Warren Street and Riverfront Drive has been submitted for city approval, and the demolition of the old Miller Motors building on Front Street will occur this week — making room for the accompanying parking ramp and four-story mixed-use building.

The design of the office tower, being developed by the Tailwind Group, is headed back to the Planning Commission because of some changes from the original proposal. Essentially, there will be less brick and more architectural metal on the side facing Cherry Street and the side adjacent to Riverfront Drive. The primary face of the building at the corner of Warren and Riverfront, and the Warren Street side, are unchanged.

“The building’s essentially the same,” said Mankato Community Development Director Paul Vogel, who guessed that the changes were made by the architect for aesthetic reasons. “It doesn’t affect the value of the property or the project.”

Downtown residents and workers wondering how much longer they’ll be listening to the rhythmic banging of the pile drivers can take heart. Vogel said that work should be done by the end of next week, at which point the steel beams will begin to be erected on the $7.85 million Profinium Tower (named after its primary tenant).

Demolition of the Miller Motors and Red Sky Lounge buildings this week will make way for the $4.2 million building on Front Street, which developers say will include a new Red Sky Lounge, an unnamed restaurant and apartments.

The project, the largest private investment in downtown Mankato in four decades, started a few weeks later than originally anticipated but is still projected to be completed on schedule, Vogel said. The parking ramp, which brings the total value of the project to more than $16 million, is slated to be finished in September, the office tower in November and the mixed-use building next January.

Read the full story here.