Amazing Rochester Video: From The Blondell to the Berkman (WATCH)
Opened in 1972, the Blondell Motel was popular because it was across the street from St Mary's Hospital. A much sought after corner, eventually it was purchased, torn down, and replaced with the Alatus project, now the Berkman. This video is the visual history of the demolition and building.
It should be noted, at this point the Ray-Mar motel had already been torn down.
How did the Blondell Motel come to be? In a June 2nd, 1990 PB obituary for Richard Blondell, we get a hint...
``He definitely pulled himself up by his bootstraps and went to the school of hard knocks,'' (son) Tom Blondell said. ``He arrived in Rochester 39 years ago and operated the A&W; root beer stand and later built the Heidi House Drive In in the '60s.''
But he always intended to do something else, and so in 1973 the Blondell Motel was built on the site of the Heidi House.
How did the city feel about replacing the Blondell? No one seemed to be seriously opposed to losing the hotel, but not everyone in Rochester was excited about the $100 Million Alatus project, as we reported in July of 2016 (yes, it was THAT long ago the conversations began).
Neighborhood group have expressed concerns about the size of the parking ramp and the impact the development would have on traffic in the area, as well as the impact of tearing down a number of homes to make way for the project. (Keep reading HERE).
And then, in September of the same year, the Rochester City Council voted to move ahead, but it wasn't unanimous.
The proposed 13 story building and a 560 space parking facility would be built near St Marys Hospital. The city Planning and Zoning Commission recently reviewed the project and sent it to the council without a recommendation.
After lengthy discussion, the Council voted 4-3 early Tuesday in favor of the preliminary plan that has drawn criticism from neighbors. Council-members Bilderbach, Campion and Hickey voted against the project, mainly because of its height. (Keep reading HERE).
So there you go, a little bit of history to go with the video. And speaking of the video, major kudos to bing err for the stunningly clear and bright video. Here are some more you may enjoy.
Hiking the Elba Fire Tower
Flying over Silver Lake and Rochester.
Taking down the smokestack at the Silver Lake Power Plant.
See the hot air balloons over Rochester
And finally the Bluffs over in LaCrosse...
Listen to James Rabe and Jessica Williams 6a to 10a on Y-105 FM's Early Morning Show.