Longtime Rochester bar closes its doors — for now

CJ’s Midtown Lounge in Rochester closed its doors on March 31, 2014. A Rochester developer bought the building a few years ago and plans to demolish it to make way for a mixed-use, high rise development project with a hotel, apartment rentals, and upscale restaurants. Elizabeth Baier/ MPR News

A longtime downtown Rochester watering hole closed its doors this week — and it’s unclear whether the owners will reopen at another location.

“We’re looking at a couple different locations, whether or not we can swing it, I don’t know,”  said Gary Kruse, owner of CJ’s Midtown Lounge.

CJ’s is one of several downtown Rochester businesses considering whether to move out of the area as developers and investors purchase the properties in the blocks closest to Mayo Clinic.

A Rochester developer bought the building that housed CJ’s and plans to demolish it to make way for a mixed-use, high rise development project with a hotel, apartment rentals, and upscale restaurants. The project is part of a booming real estate market in Rochester, particularly in the blocks near the Mayo Clinic’s expanding downtown campus.

Mayo has launched a 20-year, $5 billion plan to remake its flagship campus. The plan includes $327 million in state aid, largely to fund improvements to public facilities in Rochester, which is expected to grow by 32,000 residents over the next 20 years.

The crew at CJ’s has until April 14th to finish moving out of the location.

“Right now, we’re just going to close everything with this one…and see where our finances are and we’ll go from there,” Kruse said.

  • rst1317

    I’d be curious to know who the criteria for booming is and what other levels can be attained. Rochester’s growth, while healthy, is only average for the biggest 250-300 MSAs in the US. More so the region is full of cities growing 50% to even 500% faster than rochester is right now.

    Madison, Omaha, Lincoln, Ames, Bismark and others are growing faster. Des Moines and Iowa City are both growing 3 times as Rochester. Sioux Falls and Fargo and setting records for building permits and experiencing growth 4 to 5 times greater than #rochMN.

    In Minnesota Cities like Rogers, Shakopee and Woodbury are still seeing proportionally far more building permits and new households. Maybe Rochester is booming when compared to Mason City or Duluth. But why limit the comparison to only the most sluggish of cities in the region?