Downtown bank building sold for $14.92 million

August 4, 2018

A Twin Cities developer paid $14.92 million for Rochester’s Wells Fargo complex in the anticipated deal that closed on July 30.

Ryan Cos., through its firm Rochester Property Owner, LLC, bought the 107,000-square-foot building at 21 First St. SW from Wells Fargo.

Ryan Cos. plans to give the “aesthetically challenged” downtown building a $26 million facelift.

Based on the centrally located Peace Plaza with skyway and subway connections, the Wells Fargo complex is considered a prime Rochester property. The project will also include replacing obsolete escalators with stairs and filing in space on the atrium level.

Construction work is expected to begin in the fall with the glass replacement to start in the spring.

The Rochester City Council recently gave the green light to provide Ryan Cos. $2.4 million in tax-increment financing rebates to support the project.

When asked to explain the benefit of the project to Rochester taxpayers at the city council meeting, Julie Sogla of Ryan Cos. stated that without the TIF, “the numbers don’t work.”

Ryan plans to replace all of the dark, reflective glass used on the building and the skyway to improve the appearance as well as building out a lobby extension into the Peace Plaza for public use.

Olmsted County estimated the total market value of the 38-year-old building at $14.73 million for 2017-2018. It was last sold for $6.9 million in 1996. The Olmsted County value estimate spiked in 2016, when it climbed from $11.2 million to $14.15 million.

While some details are still being worked out, Wells Fargo intends to lease back 20,000 square feet of space from Ryan Cos. and maintain a smaller branch on the main level of the complex.

When the Northwestern Bank complex was built for $6 million in 1981, it was considered a significant downtown re-vitalization project.

Originally, the plan was to demolish the Historic Chateau Theater as part of the development, but local preservationists protested that and the design was significantly changed.

The building was last sold to Norwest Bank for $6.9 million in 1996. Northwest changed its name to Norwest in 1983.

Update hourly