Weekly Business Roundup, 9/27 – 10/3


Your business week, 9/27 – 10/3


Downtown’s Doubletree by Hilton has been upgraded.

  • It got $3.5 million worth of upgrades, to be exact: To the lobby, rooms, and in-house restaurant, Lot 57.
  • Fancy, but not too fancy: The hotel is still supposed to embody the more “comfortable” aesthetic of the Doubletree brand.

Minnesota is getting its first cat cafe.

  • We refuse to make any cat puns; the cafe name is more than enough.
  • The Cafe Meow will be composed of two parts: One half will be traditional coffee shop serving coffee, tea, pastries and the like. The other half will be the actual “meow” part where patrons can hang out with furry friends, many of which will be up for adoption through local shelters.

End of an era: Lucia’s is closing its doors in Uptown.

  • The restaurant, which originally opened way back in 1985, led the way for the farm-to-table movement in Minneapolis.
  • Lucia Watson sold the restaurant to the same group that owns nearby Stella’s Fish Cafe. Alan Bergo, a Heartland alum (another shuttered farm-to-table pioneer), was brought on as head chef.
  • Disputes with the landlord, and the loss of parking across the street, were blamed for the closing.

St. Paul

A taste of history: Waldmann Brewery & Wurstery is now open.

  • The building, originally established in 1857, was one of St. Paul’s very first beer bars.
  • Waldmann has been painstakingly restored to its original glory. Just about every last detail, down to the picture of President Abraham Lincoln on the wall, is 1857-approved. Seriously. It’s like drinking beer in a time capsule.

An exchange for Exchange: The Exchange Building in downtown sold.

  • Rebound Hospitality, known for converting historic spaces into hotels, purchased the building for an undisclosed amount.
  • Located across the street from the MPR headquarters, and within sight of the State Capital, the building is currently home to the St. Paul Conservatory music school, Books for Africa, and McNally-Smith offices.
  • The building will be converted into a boutique hotel. Look for a 2019 opening.

Japanese company Murata Manufacturing is buying St. Paul-based Vios.

  • Vios, a health-tech firm specializing in patient-monitoring sensors and software founded in 2012, sold for $102 million.
  • Matura already had a 3.6% stake in the company.
  • Matura <3 Minnesota: Murata also backed Edina-based Prevent Biometrics, which is producing a mouth guard for athletes that can detect concussions.

Minneapolis-tested, St. Paul mayor-approved: Ackerberg championed by Chris Coleman for SPPD annex redevelopment.

  • Ackerberg, a well-known Twin Cities developer, is also responsible for Calhoun Square in Uptown.
  • The building was originally supposed to be razed to make room for a full-block Pedro Park. But that idea was scrapped to make way for redevelopment potential that seems to be gaining steam: Ackerberg was one of three firms to submit proposals.

Ecolab buys Georgia-Pacific’s paper chemicals branch.

  • Ecolab, St. Paul’s largest company (Fortune 500 #211), paid an undisclosed amount for the Atlanta-based business that produces chemicals to make paper both softer and more durable.


Mystic Lake Casino Hotel is expanding, just in time for the Super Bowl.

  • The resort/casino, the closest one to the Twin Cities, is adding a 180-room hotel and event center to the already expansive 586-room layout.
  • Mystic Lake is also operating “Club Nomadic,” a pop-up concert venue, with capacity for 9,000 partiers, that will last for four days during Super Bowl weekend.