CONSTRUCTION BOOMED IN MANKATO IN 2013

Tim Krohn

The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Date: December 29, 2013

MANKATO — As the state and nation continued its relatively slow ascent out of the recession, the Mankato area saw a dizzying amount of new construction and business growth in 2013.

Topping the list is the recently started $15 million Tailwind Group project along Front Street and Riverfront Drive in Mankato. The project will see the demolition of Miller Motors and RedSky to help make way for a housing and retail building on Front Street, a parking ramp and a seven-story office tower along Riverfront Drive.

Construction in Mankato was up by a third in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period last year.

The $8.9 million Mankato Clinic expansion on the Wickersham Campus is underway, with an opening slated for mid-2014.

VINE Faith in Action’s $5.5 million project near downtown is transforming a former college classroom building turned government office building into in an adult community center for area residents in “mid-life and beyond.” The complete gutting of the Nichols Office Center began this year, with completion expected in the middle of next year.

Imperial Plastics built a new $10 million building in the city’s east-side industrial park.

A flurry of retail and restaurant construction also took place this year, much of it in-filling vacant lots along Madison Avenue.

Pawn America recently opened a new store with more warehouse and retail space than its former site on Madison Avenue.

A new Panda Express restaurant also opened recently in front of Cub Foods on Madison Avenue.

Family Video and Marco’s Pizza built a building along Victory Drive, behind McDonalds. The video store is open with the pizza shop to open soon.

Meanwhile, construction is moving fast on a strip mall and a standalone building in front of Crossroads Center, across Madison Avenue from the entrance of Walmart. The standalone building will be a Starbucks, which a few years ago closed a store near where the new one will be.

A strip mall near MSU, across from CVS, saw a total renovation this year, with apartments added on top and retail space on the ground floor that includes Massad’s and Yu’s Chinese Cuisine.

The city also saw the construction or renovation of other strip malls and construction of several apartment complexes.

As big as the year has been, 2014 promises to be even bigger.

A large area of land behind Madison East Center was cleared this summer, preparing for development of upper-end apartments as well as office and commercial buildings. As part of the project, the city completed an long-hoped-for extension of Adams Street behind Madison East Center.

But the biggest project to get underway next spring will be the Wal-Mart distribution center, scheduled to open in 2015.

It will be the biggest private building project in Mankato since the River Hills Mall.

City officials are estimating the project will cost between $25 million and $35 million.

The 420,000-square-foot facility, which will store and distribute perishable food products to Wal-Mart stores throughout the Upper Midwest, is only the first of two phases Wal-Mart has planned for the land it purchased in 2005. Company officials plan to add a 400,000-square-foot dry goods distribution center in the future.

Read the entire article here.

MANKATO FIRM TO UPGRADE ROCHESTER STUDENT COMPLEX

Jeff Kiger

The Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

Date: Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Mankato-based development company is planning to upgrade a Rochester student housing complex it recently purchased for $2.2 million.

The Tailwind Group, a property development and management firm, bought Evanston Heights at 830 21st Ave. S.E. on Nov. 14. Tailwind owns and manages a number of student housing and commercial properties in Mankato.

“Our plan is to re-face it, remodel it, re-name it and re-brand it,” says Landon Smith, one of Tailwind’s four owners. “It has been deteriorating for a while. Our goal is to get it more up-to-date and more attractive. Amenities are important to today’s students.”

The 27-year-old Evanston Heights has five buildings on 6.6 acres with a total of 60 housing units. It’s located near the Rochester Community Technical College’s campus and traditionally has been home to RCTC students.

It has struggled in recent years compared to its heyday. It sold for $2.8 million in 2000. The next time it changed hands in 2006, it sold for $4.27 million.

Smith estimates that Tailwind will invest around $2 million to renovate the faded facilities. This will be Tailwind’s first project in Rochester.

“Our main focus has always been student housing, so it’s a safe play for us. It’s close enough to Mankato, so we can still manage it,” he says.

While the firm has many projects in the works in Mankato, the Evanston Heights deal is sort of an experiment to test the waters here.

“Rochester’s an exciting community, so we thought we’d try it out,” says Smith.

Read the entire article here.

COUNCIL APPROVES FRONT STREET PROJECT

The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Date: Monday, September 9, 2013

MANKATO — A development agreement between the city of Mankato and the Tailwind Group development firm was approved by the City Council Monday night, the last major step before construction of a $15 million office, retail and residential remaking of a block of the city center.

The city and state, which is providing more than $3 million in grants, are contributing a total of about $6.1 million in various incentives, loans and tax increment financing, primarily for construction of a multi-story parking ramp. Tailwind is financing a seven-story office tower that will have a taxable value of more than $7 million and a four-story mixed use building valued at nearly $3 million.

Together, the improvements will transform South Front Street in the block surrounded by Cherry and Warren Streets and Riverfront Drive. Demolition of some existing structures is set to begin later this year and the new buildings will begin to rise in 2014 and 2015.

Read the entire article here.

DOLLAR TREE COMING TO FORMER RAY’S MARKET

The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Tim Krohn

Date: Saturday, August 28, 2013

NORTH MANKATO — The former Ray’s Market building in Upper North Mankato, most of which has sat empty in recent years, is being renovated and will house a Dollar Tree store, featuring a grocery and freezer aisle.

Also leasing space in the complex will be a logistics company.

Subway, which has been in part of the building, will remain.

A bank had earlier vacated one space in the building and American Family Insurance is moving from the building down Commerce Drive to a strip mall containing Erbert and Gerbert’s.

Kyle Smith of Tailwind Group said the new businesses are scheduled to open Nov. 1.

Dollar Tree, which operates a store near Old Country Buffet in Mankato, will lease 10,000 square feet in the retail complex.

Ray’s Market grocery store closed more than four years ago with a few businesses leasing part of the building. The Glen Taylor Trust purchased the Ray’s building and leased some of the remaining space out for storage.

Ray’s was built with controversial and heavy subsidies and the city lost money as it — and a former Ray’s Market downtown — struggled and closed.

Tailwind purchased the property this past spring.

Smith said the building is being totally renovated and will look more like a traditional retail center with separate entrances for each business.

SOUTH FRONT STREET REDEVELOPMENT ON VERGE OF FINAL APPROVAL

Mark Fischenich

The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Date: Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Construction should begin in August on the city’s first office tower, the first major privately-financed office building to rise downtown in more than four decades and the largest downtown development project in nearly two decades ago.

The South Front Street redevelopment, which will include a seven-story glass office tower and a four-story mixed-use building, is on the verge of final city approval following a meeting Monday night of the Mankato City Council, acting as the city Economic Development Authority.

The city, with assistance from a state grant, is largely financing a $4.9 million parking ramp and surface lot to serve the complex, and the EDA indicated support for tax-increment financing to cover much of the city’s share. Including the ramp, the entire project is expected to total between $15 million and $16 million.

“It’s the biggest development we’ve had downtown since the civic center,” said 14-year Councilman Jack Considine of the arena built in 1995. “It’s a block of town that certainly needs to be upgraded.”

Mankato-based developer Tailwind Group will lease space to Profinium Financial, bringing between 41 and 46 new jobs to the city center. Several existing Mankato businesses — including Abdo, Eick and Meyers; Paulsen Architects; and Bark.L Engineering — are expected to relocate to the complex, allowing for the retention of about 100 other jobs, according to city documents.

The office tower will be built on the corner of Riverfront Drive and Warren Street, and a second five-story building will be built along South Front Street on the site currently occupied by buildings housing Miller Motors and the Red Sky Lounge, which will be razed. Miller Motors is moving to a new location and Red Sky is expected to locate in the first floor of the new building, which will also feature 15 upscale apartments, according to Tailwind.

With parking already tight on the block, which is home to a number of bars and restaurants, the parking ramp and a new surface lot across Front Street will add 168 stalls. The ramp will be largely dedicated to office workers during the day but will be open to public parking in the evening and on weekends.

Read entire article here.

DEVELOPMENTS, CHANGES IN THE WORKS IN MANKATO

By Tim Krohn

The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Date: Saturday, March 23, 2013

MANKATO — One of the biggest downtown developments in recent history is expected to get final Mankato City Council approval Monday night as is a major development project slated for land behind Madison East Center.

Mankato-based Tailwind Group is planning to remake a block between Front Street and Riverfront Drive, where Pagliai’s, Pub 500 and Miller Motors are.

The nearly $16 million project, which could get started this spring, will bring a multi-story office tower, a five-story retail and apartment building and a parking ramp.

The six- or seven-story office tower, on the corner of Riverfront Drive and Warren Street, would bring a new business to town that would employ about 30 people with another 100 or more employees in the building coming from local businesses that relocate there.

Another five-story building would be built along South Front Street, where Miller Motors and RedSky Lounge are. Those two buildings would be razed. RedSky would locate in part of the first floor of the new building. Three floors of the building would feature 15 upscale apartments.

A pedestrian walkway would run between the new building and Pagliai’s Pizza to a parking ramp to be located behind the five-story building and adjacent to the office tower. A piece of land on the corner of Riverfront Drive and Cherry Street is slated for a possible future tower.

Read the entire article here.

PLANNING COMMISSION APPROVES MIXED-USE PLAN

By Dan Linehan

The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Date: Wednesday, February 27, 2013

MANKATO — A modern mixed-use development along the city’s historic Front and Cherry streets got a thumbs up Wednesday from the Planning Commission, which voted unanimously to approve the developer’s overall plan.

Its complexity — the project includes a seven-story office tower, a four-story residential and commercial building and a parking ramp — triggered this review of the plan, Community Development Director Paul Vogel said.

Photo of development conceptParking was the most-talked about aspect of the project.

The 145-stall, three-level public parking ramp would provide space for office workers during the day and visitors to bars and restaurants during the evening. A private ramp beneath the Front Street building would include 36 additional spaces, for the residents of the building. Plans call for 14 mostly two-bedroom, upscale apartments, with a total of 30 bedrooms.

City staff told the Planning Commission that the ramp would provide enough parking, but it’s dependent on a $1 million grant request to the state, which is disbursing $3 million during this round of funding.

Read the entire article here.

BUILDINGS FOR NEW BUSINESSES ON THE WAY TO OWATONNA

By Al Strain

Owatonna People’s Press, Owatonna, MN

Date: Tuesday, January 8, 2013

OWATONNA — The south end of Oak Avenue in Owatonna is going to be getting a makeover after a lot between Barney Street and 13th Street has sat vacant for a number of years.

The lot — currently home to an abandoned Hardee’s and a vacant Budget Mart gas station — is set to be redeveloped after the Tailwind Group, a group based out of Mankato, purchased the property.

The deal wouldn’t have been finalized without help from the Community Development Office from the City of Owatonna. The city will use Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to help fund the demolition of the two buildings, which has stood in the way for others who were interested in developing the property in the past.

“Usually it’s not a feasible project for them to do it all on their own,” said Community Development Director Troy Klecker. “That’s where we partner up with them and try to get the project going.”  Read MORE