Spur coworking center opens this week; win a Kindle Fire at the open house Thursday night

Spur Coworking, Northfield, MN Spur Coworking, Northfield, MN Amelia Schmelzer, Shafi Shahriar, CJ James, Megan Tsui, Connor Petersen
I spent a few hours last week at The Spur, the Northfield Enterprise Center‘s new coworking and incubator/accelerator facility at 313 1/2 Division St, (2nd floor above Division St. Dance).  NEC Executive Director Megan Tsui had her interns hard at work getting the place ship-shape (right photo above: Amelia Schmelzer, Shafi Shahriar, CJ James, Megan Tsui, Connor Petersen).

Griff Wigley at Spur Coworking, Northfield, MN Spur Coworking, Northfield, MN Spur Coworking, Northfield, MN Spur Coworking, Northfield, MN  
I’ll be officing here starting this week, mostly in the mornings t 8:30-noonish (yes, I’ll maintain my corner office at GBM 6-8:30am). The main room has plenty of work spaces, plus a fridge, microwave, coffee pot, water cooler, lockers, and a copy machine/network printer. Not visible: fast wi-fi.

Spur Coworking, Northfield, MN Spur Coworking, Northfield, MN Spur Coworking, Northfield, MN Spur Coworking, Northfield, MN Spur Coworking, Northfield, MN
The back (east) room has three areas: a lounge, a big meeting space in the middle (tables, chairs, digital projector), and a smaller conference table in the back. The outdoor deck area (right photo) will have tables and chairs.

The Spur currently has three membership levels, similar to CoCo MSP’s individual membership plans but without the signup fees.

Kindle FireWant to win a Kindle Fire, donated by Community Resource Bank?

See the web version of Megan’s email for details on the July 26 4-7 pm open house.

Audio: Legislators Kelby Woodard and Al DeKruif at NDDC/Chamber forum

Kelby Woodard and Al DeKruif at NDDC/Chamber forum  Kelby Woodard and Al DeKruif at NDDC/Chamber forum  Kelby Woodard and Al DeKruif at NDDC/Chamber forum

Our new legislators, Representative Kelby Woodard, District 25B, and Senator Al DeKruif, District 25, spoke at the NDDC / Chamber forum at Community Resource Bank yesterday morning.

Here’s the audio:

Click play to listen. 1 hour, 25 minutes. Or download the MP3.

Campaign websites: Al DeKruif; Kelby Woodard.

Nfld News: Woodard, DeKruif at Northfield area business forum.

Neuger to buy the Aldsworth and Community Resource Bank buildings on Bridge Square

19 and 25 Bridge Square Neuger Communications Group McGuire Building

I saw a Tweet by Neuger Communications Group staffer Lauren Melcher yesterday, linking to a press release that Neuger is buying the vacant Community Resource Bank building at 25 Bridge Square, as well as the Aldsworth Building at 19 Bridge Square.  The Neuger Communications Group currently occupies the lower level of the McGuire Building next to the Northfield Liquor Store (right photo above).

These two Bridge Square buildings were in the news in late 2009: Proposed historic-looking office building would ‘replace’ the Aldsworth.

This is great news for downtown Northfield.  And it gives me some other ideas.

Photo album: Phoenix Building open house

Construction Consulting Partners held an open house at their Phoenix Building last night. Tenants participating: Community Resource Bank, Anytime Fitness, and Allure Salon. Neighbor participant: Eco Gardens.

See my album of 23 photos, the large slideshow, or this small slideshow:

Downtown parking: what’s really needed?

Community Resource Bank parking lot Community Resource Bank parking lot NDDC Guide to Parking in Downtown Northfield
With the departure of Community Resource Bank from its downtown location, there’s now an empty parking lot in the heart of downtown—at least until the owner of the building, First National Bank of Northfield (across the street), leases the building.

Last week’s City Council work session discussion of the Streetscape Taskforce Recommendations (P. 15 of the packet) had this item on the list:

Purchase of property to address perceived needs of Downtown Parking issues and potentially assist with increased parking need by future Library project.

The NDDC provides a Guide to Parking in Downtown Northfield. Ross has blogged about parking issues for years (example, here). There have been several studies of downtown parking (eg. the Walker Study, the Stolley Report, others? links?).

Here are some low-hanging fruit questions of an uninformed blogger:

  • How often are the diagonal and parallel parking spots on Division completely full?
  • Do downtown business owners and their employees too often park in these spots or is that a myth?
  • How rigorously do the police enforce downtown parking ordinances?
  • What do we know that has worked and not worked in other downtowns of our size/type?

Regardless of the strange wording (“perceived needs of Downtown Parking issues” – do issues have needs?) and regardless of what happens with the Library expansion, downtown parking is an issue that should be fun to argue about.

In the meantime, the now-empty Community Resource Bank parking lot is a perfect spot for a temporary skateboard plaza!

It’s moving day for Community Resource Bank’s downtown location

Community Resource Bank poster Community Resource Bank in the Phoenix Building Community Resource Bank in the Phoenix Building 
Community Resource Bank moves its downtown branch from 4th and Division to the Phoenix Building at 7th and Division today.

Community Resource Bank files ‘intent’ to move its downtown branch to the Phoenix Building

The Phoenix Building, NorthfieldI spoke with Community Resource Bank CEO Don Kuehnast on Thursday who confirmed that they’re intending to move their downtown branch to the Phoenix Building at 7th and Division. A public notice appearing in today’s Northfield News says:

IMG_6459.CR2 Notice is hereby given that Community Resource Bank, Northfield, Minnesota has notified the Minnesota Department of Commerce of its intent to relocate the detached facility/branch, a distance of approximately .5 miles within Northfield from 25 Bridge Square to 618 Division Street, Northfield, Rice County, Minnesota 55057.

Kuehnast said the ‘intent’ language is required by Federal regulators and he was careful to use it with me in my phone call with him.

Reporter David Henke reports in today’s Nfld News:

Last year, the bank filed a permit with the city indicating that it would move its downtown branch to the Phoenix Building, the former site of Lansing Hardware. But the bank chose not to move after its lease at Bridge Square was extended by First National Bank, which owns the property.

Kuehnast would not comment on whether the bank is still considering a move to the front portion of the Phoenix Building.

That doesn’t quite tell the whole story. See my Sept. 5, 2009 blog post:  Northfield News mishandles the Community Resource Bank move story.

Feds intervene at Community Resource Bank

Community Resource Bank logo 
A story on Community Resource Bank was posted to the Strib web site at 9 pm this evening: Bank in Northfield put under Fed scrutiny.

Federal regulators have ordered Community Resource Bank of Northfield, Minn., to strengthen its loan portfolio and ensure that it has adequate capital. The 132-year-old bank, which has $240 million in assets, must improve its loan review process and reduce its delinquent loans that have balances exceeding $500,000. The bank also was told to come up with a plan to "maintain sufficient capital."

Update: 01/27, 6:50 am: 15-page PDF: Written Agreement by and among NORTHFIELD BANCSHARES, INC. Northfield, Minnesota COMMUNITY RESOURCE BANK Northfield, Minnesota and FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF MINNEAPOLIS Minneapolis, Minnesota

Continue reading Feds intervene at Community Resource Bank

Heat wave arrives just in time for Winter Walk

Community Resource Bank time/tempJohn Thomas sent us this photo of the time/temp sign at the Community Resource Bank this morning.

Proposed historic-looking office building would ‘replace’ the Aldsworth

Aldsworth Building and Community Resource Bank11x17 12 View 19I chatted briefly yesterday with Jim Braucher, Principal of Professional Design Group, a Northfield architectural and engineering firm, on the plans to redevelop the site of the Community Resource Bank and the old Aldsworth building overlooking Bridge Square with a historic-looking 4-story office building. I may be drinking the Kool-Aid but I’m not inclined to jump on the ‘save the Aldsworth’ bandwagon since only its facade was renovated in 1997. According to my Deep Throat at GBM, the interior structure is badly dilapidated. (continued)

Continue reading Proposed historic-looking office building would ‘replace’ the Aldsworth

Northfield News mishandles the Community Resource Bank move story

ScreenHunter_01 Sep. 05 08.17 Today’s Northfield News has a story titled, Community Resource Bank move on hold. In July, the paper ran a story titled, Bank moving south on Division, and included a photo with the caption “The building at 618 Division St., pictured here in 2008 with co-owner Randy Lutz, will soon be the new home to the downtown Community Resource Bank.” A July 31 editorial stated “An opportunity arose this week in the form of Community Resource Bank deciding to relocate to the Phoenix Building at 618 Division St.” (continued)

Continue reading Northfield News mishandles the Community Resource Bank move story

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