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Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - A longtime building near the Zumbro River in downtown Rochester will soon disappear.

On a 4-3 vote Wednesday, the Rochester City Council approved a staff request to demolish the former Labor Temple building that has housed the Legends bar for several years.

Its past includes the former Time Theater, a popular restaurant and the home of local labor organizations.

The city bought the site in 2013 with an eye on future development as the purchase gave it ownership of all the property along the river between 2nd and 4th streets SE.

A proposal called the "Bloom" project surfaced several years ago but came to an official end in Feb. 2019.

Staff told the council Wednesday the building has several expensive code issues and it had been targeted for demolition since it was purchased.

In the short term, the site will be turned into public “green space.” In the long term, the city is expected to seek proposals to develop the site that could include a connection to expected changes in the area of the nearby former AMPI plant.

Here is a portion of the staff report to the council:

With the demolition of the Labor Temple site, the City along with other stakeholders will work to develop a community-based vision for the riverfront to determine the right mix of public amenities and private investment that aligns with City and community priorities. The overarching goal is to establish a more comprehensive downtown riverfront strategy in alignment with the work currently underway with the Downtown Waterfront Small Area Plan. This broader vision will include other future development opportunities along our riverfront. In coordination with the Labor Temple demolition, the City will begin curating this vision by releasing a Request for Proposals (RFP) this spring that will focus on an incremental planning and development strategy. While those planning efforts are underway, there is an immediate opportunity to begin prototyping the site with grass and assorted plantings as we work to transform this space into a true community asset.

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