Longtime Rochester bar closes its doors — for now

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.