ROCHESTER, Minn. - A downtown Rochester business is being repurposed after the COVID-19 pandemic closed its doors in July.
Former restaurant, The Loop, will soon serve as a student lounge for University of Minnesota-Rochester students.
The Rochester City Council approved the request from UMR to use local sales tax funds to convert the restaurant into a space for students to gather. The project cost is an estimated $2.5 million.
UMR Chancellor Lori Carrell says the revamped space will be a benefit to everyone but particularly students who live out of town and need a space to get together.
Carrell said, "They really need a space to connect with each other and while COVID has impacted that as well, currently, we do look forward together to a time when that gathering and those pure connections will be possible again."
Carrell also says the university is working with students to create the design of the lounge.
"There is a commercial kitchen that's part of the draw for us so there can be some food options for students, probably what's called 'grab and go', but as far as the rest of the space and what will serve students as they gather and study, we're asking the students for input," she added.
The space is part of the 318 commons building that's used for UMR student housing. The hope is to start remodeling the location by early 2021.