Pavement to Park

When the Kutzky Market and Forager project kicked off earlier this year, we knew that these clients were in a league of their own.  For starters, they had lofty goals of combining disparate uses into one innovative umbrella business.  Not to mention helping to kick-start local entrepreneurs with various forms of incubator spaces.  But most unique was their selection of buildings.  

The former Good Food Store building across from the Kwik Trip on 6th Street NW was not much to look at.  Frankly, it was a dog.  A dated green metal awning screamed "STRIP MALL" and the sea of surface parking around the structure was about as appealing as the negative temperatures on the day this photo was taken.

But the proprietors of Forager and Kutzky Market had one thing that separated them from any other tenant of this building: vision.  They saw potential for change.  They could see the experience drastically different than the environment presented.  And now that transformation is taking shape.

As the de-stripmalling progressed, the outdoor space had to change.   Gone is the west parking lot.  No more asphalt.  Replacing it are salvaged (foraged) structures from farmsteads in SE Minnesota, outdoor patio space, grass, and planters.  

Along 6th Street NW, more boulevard trees were planted o enhance the pedestrian environment.  That audible gasp you just heard was every other developer in Rochester who scoffed at the thought of having to plant trees that would obscure their building.  Not only did this tenant take the recommendation to heart, they planted even more trees in the front yard to soften the landscape.   Strange idea, we know, make the experience more comfortable for the patrons...go figure.

As the sun shines now and the weather imperceptibly creeps up above 60 degrees, the grass is laid, the seeds are planted, and the shadows are casting shorter.  Without a doubt, this outdoor patio will be the hidden gem of the Kutzky Market and Forager Brewery project, hiding the banal surroundings of the railroad corridor and allowing patrons to enjoy all of Minnesota's seasons.