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The Chafoulias Vision: What Rochester's Titan has planned for the DMC era

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Gus Chafoulias sharing his vision for the DMC era Gus Chafoulias sharing his vision for the DMC era
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- As we take our first steps into the Destination Medical Center era, we all have magnificent visions for what this city could become. However, one Rochester man has always had big dreams for this small city, and KTTC got the chance to sit down with him to hear about them.

For Gus Chafoulias, the view we know as the Rochester skyline is much more than just a cascade of buildings. It's a vision of greatness, a constant work in progress, something he has literally helped create.

"Here's what I see in Rochester," says Chafoulias. "Pretty simple. It's one of the great small cities in America. Period."

Chafoulias is chairman of Titan Development and Investments, a company with as large a footprint in Rochester as its name implies. Many city landmarks and businesses have been touched or built by his vision.

"Sometimes I don't even believe it's me," Chafoulias says as he points out several of his buildings. Yet, even he didn't foresee what Rochester could become.

When asked if he anticipated anything like DMC happening to Rochester, he replies, "No. No, I don't think anybody did."

Even though something like DMC was never on his radar, it's the DMC idea that will bring the Chafoulias vision to life. "I really thought that downtown, because of the huge population that works downtown, could be a retail center too," he says.

That vision is coming true, as Chafoulias is weeks away from breaking ground for his next development, Broadway at Center.

"We're going to have a 264-room hotel, we're going to have about 25,000-30,000 square feet of retail, we're going to have underground parking, we're going to have apartments on top of the hotel," he says. "It's 400-and-some thousand square feet. That's a big building, and it's going to surprise people who live in this community."

The $138 million project is a gargantuan tower to be built on the southeast corner of Broadway and Center Street. Chafoulias says it will be one of the best hotels in the Midwest. "I think when you walk in the hotel, you're going to say, 'wow!'" he tells us.

Titan's offices have just moved into his latest project, H3 Plaza and Chafoulias has plans to expand the Shops at University Square in what was Michael's Restaurant. But the 79-year-old entrepreneur is no stranger to defeat. More than a decade ago, his idea for TimeSquare on Broadway at Center folded.

"It was a shame, but some people don't have the same thoughts as other people," he says. "That's the way life is."

Even through hardship, Chafoulias has always bounced back, painting a new picture of his vision. "I've been telling the city council for years, you ought to shrink Broadway and put the benches and trees and that on Broadway and make it a pedestrian oriented street," says Chafoulias.

That wish is a snapshot already in the DMC collage, but Chafoulias says his biggest accomplishments are still brewing.

"There's other things happening in this town I can't talk about right now, but there's some more mega things and they really aren't tied to Mayo Clinic," he says. They are things he says will be downtown, but his lips are sealed for now. 

Although this city may look different on the outside, he says, it's what really builds this town that will keep Rochester what it has always been. "I mean this town is lucky. It's got hardworking, smart, good people in it," Chafoulias says. "That's great to see. It's great to live in a city like this."

If you want more details on the Chafoulias Vision, you can find extended interviews with Chafoulias on our DMC page.

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