University of Minnesota, Rochester to repurpose hotel for student housing

ROCHESTER – The University of Minnesota, Rochester is making room for more student housing by converting a downtown hotel.

The Board of Regents on Friday approved an agreement with Titan Development, the owners of the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, to lease and convert the hotel into a 403-bed student dorm with dining, recreation and community space.

Titan Development will remodel the building at 150 S. Broadway to open in fall 2023. Tenants Pescara Restaurant and Cafe Steam will remain on-site.

Lori Carrell, chancellor of the Rochester campus, said university officials are “thrilled” to have secured more housing options as student enrollment continually increases.

“This housing will be affordable for our students,” she said. “That has been our No. 1 criteria.”

Titan Development will spend about $7.6 million on renovations, while the university will pay a little over $4 million annually — about $3.1 million in leasing costs and $1 million in taxes and utilities — over the next 12 years.

“This was a difficult decision,” Titan CEO Andy Chafoulias said in a statement. “DoubleTree is not being redeveloped due to a lack of success, but instead, due to the outweighing benefits of the revitalization of downtown and the positive impact that the new facility will bring to retailers and dining establishments.”

Chafoulias’ late father, Gus, was among the university’s first partners in the community and helped secure downtown space for the campus to move into in 2007.

The agreement comes as U officials review other downtown properties for campus expansion. The university will review and update its campus plans in 2023. The last plan was done in 2014.

The university uses a mixture of owned and rented space along 1st Avenue SW., including space at One Discovery Square and 318 Commons. U officials recently bought the former Running Room store at 711 S. Broadway.

Carrell said the university hasn’t ruled out leasing or acquiring other locations, including the former YMCA facility at 709 1st Av. SW.

“There are all kinds of interesting ideas percolating but there is nothing specific at this time,” she said.