ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – A multi-million dollar project for downtown Rochester’s Riverfront District is no more. The Bloom Towers project has been officially terminated.
The city of Rochester and the Abu-Dhabi-based developers spent the last four years working to get the project green-lit, but on Monday, the city decided to move on.
The beginning of the end came around the new year when developers said it needed more time to determine if the 230 million dollar project was still feasible.
After missing a deadline about a week ago, the developer contacted the city saying it would hear from them about a new purchase agreement in the next few days.
After still hearing nothing, the city administration team decided to no longer continue with the Bloom project.
In Monday afternoon’s Committee of the Whole meeting, council member Michael Wojcik described the project as “dead, dead, dead.”
Wojcik says he had been suspicious of the project for some time and is frustrated with the way things have played out.
“Most of the people that were there for the initiation process are no longer with the city,” Wojcik said. “We could have done a lot more in the interest of the taxpayers, I wish we would’ve made those decisions at the time. We didn’t, but there’s nothing we can do about it now except not do the same dumb thing twice.”
Wojcik adds that city staff members have been asked not to engage further with Bloom without coming to the council and discussing it first.
Instead of seeing this decision as a disappointment, some city leaders are looking at the projects termination as a new opportunity.
“Bloom perhaps on their own is stepping back and perhaps reevaluating the market and perhaps would want to come back with a different proposal,” Council President Randy Staver said. “So I don’t completely fault them in wanting to take another look at the Rochester market, and similarity, that we would like to entertain some different ideas given what’s happened over the last four years.”
Staver also says that he sees the whole situation as a learning experience.
In light of the projects end, the city is working to put “protections” in place, to hold developers accountable for used city resources. Wojcik says he expects those protections to be in place in the next few months.