Go Rochester Direct battling new competitor at Kahler Grand - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Go Rochester Direct battling new competitor at Kahler Grand Hotel

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- A second downtown Rochester business is in a confrontation with the new ownership of the Kahler Grand Hotel, after being served with a "Notice of Eviction" in spite of having options to stay in its existing lease.

The owner of Go Rochester Direct, a shuttle service that provides transportation from the Kahler Grand in Rochester to the Twin Cities, tells KTTC NewsCenter that a trial over the lease was postponed Tuesday morning so negotiations can resume between the parties.  The company has been in its current prominent space in the hotel lobby for ten years.

"An eviction notice was given, but we are in negotiations to settle out of court," said Kurt Marquardt, one of the principal owners of Go Rochester Direct.  "We have options to stay here for another two years, and we have exercised our option to stay through August of next year."

A trial before Olmsted County District Court Judge Joseph Chase was scheduled for Tuesday, but was canceled when an order was filed to postpone it.  Meantime, Go Rochester Direct remains in its space in the lobby of the Kahler Grand.  But it is no longer the only option for travelers.

A second business, Rochester Shuttle Service, has now taken over a nearby space and has been designated by the Kahler Grand Hotel as its transportation provider for riders between Rochester and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

"We're excited to work with the group," said Mike Wees, Rochester Shuttle Service owner.  "It's been a long time coming and we've had our arms wide open and we're excited to provide this service. We both have the same vision, which is to provide the best service possible for patients coming to visit Mayo."

Before it was postponed, this was to be the second court battle between the Kahler Hotel Group and a shop owner at the Kahler.

Renee Carlson, the owner of Les Wigs Renee and Merle Norman cosmetics, is fighting her eviction, as well, contending she has a valid lease through 2018.

Last week, Judge Chase heard testimony from both sides in that trial. He was expected to make a ruling in that case within ten days of hearing the arguments.

The chairman of the Kahler Hotel Group, Javon Bea, has vowed to upgrade the four downtown hotels and be the private partner of Mayo Clinic in its drive to transform Rochester to become a "Destination Medical Center" over the next 20 years.  The Kahler Grand, the International, the Rochester Marriott Mayo Clinic Area, the Kahler Inn and Suites, and the Residence Inn at Rochester Marriott Mayo Clinic Area, are all connected to Mayo by skyways or subways.  The Kahler recently added a registered nurse to its range of hotel services.

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