American Legion not planning on having space in new hotel - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

American Legion not planning on having space in new hotel

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -

The American Legion has been on the corner of 1st Ave Northwest and Civic Center Drive for nearly half a century.

But now, as planners are finalizing expectations for a hotel to go up on that land, the Legion needs to find a new home.

The $35 million project, going by the name Civic on First, has been a long time coming.

"We've been working on this project for nearly two years now, we've spent a lot of time meeting with neighbors and the community," Ebbie Nakhjavani, with EKN Development Group, said.

But Wednesday, before a City Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, we learned about a big change.

While the developers' process is proceeding as planned, the hotel went from 12 floors to 9 since the plans were originally announced.

"Through that process it was determined that the American Legion and VFW were not interested in locating in the building," Nakhjavani said. "So we eliminated the club floors and associated parking which caused the building to get shorter."

The reason? 

According to members at the club on Wednesday night, the new location would be on the 6th floor.

They said it would be very difficult for the older members to access it.

Another factor was that they'd be sharing the room with the VFW.

Members also said they aren't allowed to share some facilities like kitchens with each other.

The only option left for them is to find a new home.

The Legion's current plan is to move to King's Crossing on 21st Ave Southeast, and they plan to move out by the spring of 2018.

As for the hotel, the 175 room building is expected to have a pool, restaurant, and the ground floor will be accessible to anyone, even if they aren't staying.

At the meeting, the one main hurdle was a drop off area along Civic Center Drive.

City Public Works officials said they wanted to leave Civic Center Drive unchanged to serve as a future traffic corridor.

In the end, commissioners recommended the project continue on to the next step in front of the City Council.

The developers still have to go before the City Council, have another public hearing and provide more detail on some aspects of the plan, before they can break ground.

"I love being in Rochester, I think its a fantastic city," Nakhjavani said. "We've had a great two years so far and we look forward to becoming a part of the community."

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