Med City residents upset over the upcoming demolition of a historic building | News

ROCHESTER, Minn.-The Rochester City Council voted 4 to 3 at its meeting on Monday to allow a developer to demolish a historic Med City building in order to make space for their Citywalk Apartments project.

The former boarding house was built by Mayor Martin Heffron in 1917 and is located at 219 Sixth Ave. SW.

The Citywalk Apartments project was originally approved by the City Council back in Jan. and planned to create a seven story, 131 unit apartment building near downtown Rochester.

However, the developer asked the council for the approval of a different plan on Monday, which would change the apartment to a six story building with 142 apartments.

The developer cited high building costs as the reason for the change.

The new change will result in the demolition of Heffron’s former boarding house, which is a 10 unit apartment house.

Heffron is considered as one of Rochester’s founding fathers, according to the Heritage Preservation Commission’s Vice Chair Barry Skolnick, who helped with the design and construction of Rochester’s historic Chateau Theater and St. Marys Chapel.

Skolnick, who is a strong opponent of the demolition of the former mayor’s house, said people living at the building are being forced out.

“I spoke to several tenants that lived in the Heffron house and they loved it there and they were not happy about leaving. There was a person that testified. I did not ask them to do that. I did not know they were going to be. there and they testified on behalf of keeping the Heffron house the way it was at the city council meeting and the other people I spoke to in that building do not want to move and they are being forced out because of this move to save the developer some money, Skolnick said.

Skolnick said the decision will take away what was already an affordable housing option in Rochester.

“There are people that are losing their apartments and homes now. It is reasonably priced housing and there are 10 apartments in that building and I just feel that we are unbalanced. We are not getting what I think is a fair break for the people and for Rochester, “Skolnick said.

The demolition of Heffron’s former house is another blow to a piece of Med City history, as other historic buildings such as the former Red Owl Grocery Store or better known as Legends, are set to be razed.

Heffron’s former house is not listed as a historic building in Rochester.


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