Five groups pitch plans for future of Armory Building to Rochest - KXLT - Fox 47 Rochester MN News, Weather, Sports #rochmn

Five groups pitch plans for future of Armory Building to Rochester City Council

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -

It was a full house at Monday's Committee of the Whole Meeting.

Five different groups presented their plans for the fate of the Rochester Armory Building.

Each group has their own flavor for development.

So, here's a little taste.

The Castle Community group hopes to transform the 117-year old building into a bustling arts and cultural community center, open 7 days a week for 12 to 15 hours a day.

"It's going to be art lovers, its going to be people who actually make art, people who love music, people who want to come and have a drink, people who want to go to the public commons and see what's going on there, people who want to see a show. And people who have their weddings there," said Scott Hoss, a member of the Castle Community Group.

Other highlights of the group's plans include community spaces for community meetings or organizations, public commons area, 10 artist studios, a retail art store, a record store, a book store, and a $1.2 million restaurant with a local top chef.

That chef will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the restaurant, and there will be a bar.

Hoss said that it will be a public-private partnership, and will be a tax-paying building that wouldn't be on the city's liability list. It would be roughly $80,000 to $90,000 per year on the tax roll.

Titan and Kraus Anderson have prepares a roughly $3 million to $3.5 million renovation complete with 24 living units, a gallery for local artists, retail space, and a return to its historic roots.

"Over here on the alley side we would be bringing back the windows that were previously on the building,” said group members at Monday's meeting.

The group said they believe they are reputable and the city can recognize that through past construction projects the company has created, especially in relation to Destination Medical Center.

For those who love live entertainment, Entourage Events Group x Fine Line Cafe might be your choice.

"There's a lot of big acts that come to the Fine Line, already. It would just be a matter of adding another date but then also the outdoor festivals and the different block parties they do. These guys are also big partners in the zombie pub crawl and a lot of different events in Minneapolis that make it really great experience to live up there. We can make down here in Rochester," said Sunny Prabhakar, a partner with Entourage.

The group is currently renovating the Minneapolis Armory and prides itself on an open-room business model.

The group hopes to bring in concerts, comedy shows, singers, host galas, host events, and host non-profits.

Prabhakar said they are committing to hosting at least 50 new events in Rochester every year, should their plan be chosen.

He also said if the plan is chosen, he plans to meet with the other proposers to incorporate their ideas.

“They've identified a need, so we need find a way to incorporate that into our proposal,” said Prabhakar.

The Creative Castle group takes pride in the tried and true.

"We are not coming in with a large improvement plan. We are coming in with utilizing the current asset, the current building structure. What we found from other projects is that that is the best way to make space affordable,” said Bucky Beeman, part of the Creative Castle group.

He added that they have had a lot of success in the past with their model.

He said they go to the community, ask what their vision is, and the group helps to create a space into what the community envisions, that way those who will be served are getting their wants and needs.

And, as for the Arts and Culture Initiative, well the name speaks for itself.

"An open community asset for cultural, arts and community individuals, as well as groups and organizations. Which will provide affordable, accessible and available opportunities for the Rochester community and the surrounding area," said group members during Monday's presentation.

The plan is to have members of the community weigh in their thoughts on each option, in the near future.

One issue that came up is the ownership of the adjacent parking lots, which the city hopes to retain.

Each group has two weeks to revise their proposals not involving the parking lots, and will resubmit to council prior to the next meeting.

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