New Rooftop Bar + Kitchen and Frandsen Bank coming to North Mankato's Belgrade Avenue

Aug 03, 2019

August 3, 2019 (Mankato, Minnesota) — What started out as a plan to convert a former convenience store into a new bar and restaurant is morphing into a major redevelopment on Belgrade Avenue. Frandsen Bank & Trust will build new offices next to the Circle Inn, while the Rooftop Bar + Kitchen will build next to the American Legion.

Demolition on the former Cenex Expressway and Frandsen Bank’s current drive-thru are set to begin this fall, with the new businesses opening next spring.

Frandsen and a developer are working on potential redevelopment of their current building, located next to the NaKato, across the street from the new developments, or they could sell the building.

North Mankato City Administrator John Harrenstein said there aren’t lots of steps needed for the project to proceed.

“They don’t require any zoning changes, and I believe they’ve already replatted (the properties),” he said.

The developers are submitting inspection documents to the city to show that the existing convenience store and drive-thru are substandard buildings under state definitions, which will allow the projects to qualify for redevelopment tax increment financing. TIF allows for a portion of the taxes paid from the additional valuation of the redeveloped site to be given back to the developers to help cover costs allowable by state law.

“We’re ready to go when they’re ready to go,” Harrenstein said. “They’ll just need a site plan review and the TIF process.”

Harrenstein said the downtown has benefited from a variety of factors.

“I think the project is the fruition of a lot of different great things about North Mankato. It builds on the legacy that Business on Belgrade and Jim Whitlock started; it builds on the planning efforts of the City Council, and it’s a real symbol of what good planning and strong partnerships can do for a neighborhood,” he said. “What it’s done is it’s created a safe place to invest.”

Last spring Julie Sabin announced plans to redevelop the convenience store, but talks began with Tailwind Group about a larger project that would include the bank and a new building for the restaurant.

Frandsen Bank

Nick Hinz, president of the Frandsen Bank location, said the move will give them a chance to update and combine services.

“Our building is getting older and we have more space than we need, so we’re shrinking down the footprint. And it will be more useful for customers with the drive-thru and offices in the same building. And we wanted to stay downtown.” The bank’s drive-thru is now across the street from the bank offices.

“Our model is local decision-making. Instead of automated teller machines, we want more in-person transactions with decision-makers on site. We may be a little old school in that way. Rather than all automated, we want more interactions with people.”

The two-story bank will have its drive-thru located next to the Circle Inn.

Frandsen has 38 locations in Minnesota and assets of $1.7 billion. Hinz said that while Frandsen is a large organization that provides all the latest technology and security, their model is for community-based decision-making. “Each location is run by a local bank president, so they’re setting rates and making decisions based on what’s best for each market. It’s kind of a unique model.”

Rooftop dining

Next door to the new bank will be the restaurant, with DeMars Construction handling the general contracting duties.

Max DeMars, who worked with Sabin on her original plan, said seeing the project grow to something much bigger was rewarding.

“It took a little more time, but it gave the restaurant more time to look at a new space rather than reusing an existing space. She could look at how the kitchen could be laid out best; it allowed more thought to it.”

DeMars said the new buildings will be set back about a foot from the the current sidewalk to provide more sidewalk area. Parking lots will be in the back of the buildings.

“It’s a cool, impressive project,” DeMars said. “A lot of things are happening down there with Business on Belgrade and all they’re doing.”

The second floor of the restaurant will have open air space and space for private dining.

Sabin has a wealth of restaurant experience working back of the house, as server and managing.

She grew up in Mankato and started at Bonanza while in high school. That closed a few months later and reopened as a steak house where she also worked before going to the newly opened Grizzly’s.

Sabin went to the University of Minnesota and started with TGI Fridays. She worked with them 13 years, going from an hourly to salaried employee and was moved to Austin, Texas, where she worked with the regional group there for five years before being transferred to Colorado for two years.

She then moved to a start-up, Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar, where she was part of the new restaurant opening team.

With young twin boys, she and her husband decided it was time to move back to Mankato.

To read original article from the Mankato Free Press, click here.


ISG Bolsters Connectivity with Strategic Telecommunications Expertise Addition

May 29, 2020 (Green Bay, Wisconsin) – ISG, a professional design and engineering firm that serves both diverse markets and vast geographies, recently expounded upon its progressive strength and business unit diversification by welcoming long-time telecommunications leader Dan Nelson, PE. Based out of the Green Bay office, Dan and his team will continue to advance connectivity and further support clients on a national level.
Read More

ISG Adds Minneapolis Architecture Expertise

March 20, 2020 (Minneapolis, Minnesota) – In an effort to strengthen services for a wide range of partners in the Twin Cities and across the Midwest, ISG is joining forces with Architects Rego + Youngquist, LLC. (ARY) of St. Louis Park, Minnesota. As a premier provider of design services in the education, civic and cultural, and healthcare markets, ARY’s talented professionals will add a wider breadth of expertise as they are integrated into ISG’s multi-disciplinary team.
Read More

ISG Water Solutions Team Amplifies Resources, Adds Strategic Talent

January 28, 2020 (Storm Lake, Iowa) – ISG, a professional design and engineering firm that is 100% owned by employees, recently expanded its Water Solutions Group by welcoming long-time Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) leader Julie Sievers. Ready to embark on this new endeavor with ISG as Senior Water Specialist, Julie will complement a seasoned group of professionals, including internationally recognized Water Solutions Group Leader and Associate Principal, Uma Vempati, PE, PMP, ENV SP, Iowa project leader and Associate Principal, Tom Grafft, and many others within the firm of 315+ professionals.
Read More

Biggest Wetland Project in State Awaits First Spring Flush

January 17, 2020 – The largest wetland project undertaken by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship sits east of Storm Lake waiting for spring to come so it can perform its duty. It was built last summer not only to prevent flooding, but to remove nitrate from primarily tile-drained land in five Buena Vista County drainage districts.
Read More

Nationally Recognized Design and Engineering Firm, ISG, Announces CEO and Leadership Adjustments

January 14, 2020 – Building on 2020 goals and market strategy, ISG, a nationally recognized architecture, engineering, environmental, and planning firm, recently formalized a proactive plan with respect to its CEO and firm leadership positions. The firm’s Board of Directors formally approved and appointed Lynn Bruns as CEO, David Doxtad as President, Derek Johnson as Executive Vice President, and Chad Surprenant as Chief Strategy Officer (formerly CEO|President).
Read More

ISG Recognized as Volunteer Company of the Year by VEX Robotics

December 20, 2019 – In recognition of its commitment to supporting the application of emerging technologies, ISG has been named as the Volunteer Company of the Year by VEX Robotics. This annual award is presented to a business or organization that consistently exhibits leadership and personal commitment to the robotics community. The distinction demonstrates the value ISG places on robotics, as the firm continues to support educational and competitive programs in local schools and makes strides to creatively adopt new technologies to the benefit of its clients.
Read More

One firm, one team, multi-disciplinary solutions in architecture, engineering, environmental, and planning.

Contact Us

10 offices and 290+ professionals with clients nationwide, at your service.

News + Events

ISG ingenuity at work for clients, communities, and partners across the U.S.