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It's been vacant since earlier this spring, but we now know what will be happening with the site of the former Carlos O'Kellys restaurant in Rochester.

The very last Carlos O'Kellys location still in business in the Land of 10,000 Lakes was right here in Rochester. It's located on the west side of Highway-52 and was known for serving margaritas and 'inspired Mex' cuisine-- until April of this year, that is.

That's because earlier this spring, Carlos and the entire O'Kelly's crew announced their last day in business in Rochester would be April 24th, 2022. Since that time, the building has sat vacant, but there are now plans for that site.

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Google Street View
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And those plans apparently include demolishing the familiar 7,000 square-foot orange and green building with brown trim which stands (at least for now, anyway) at 4825 West Frontage Road Northwest. And, according to the Post Bulletin's Jeff Kiger, the building could come down as soon as this week (July 18th, 2022).

So what's going up in its place? Well, that would be an expansion of a neighboring business. Kiger notes that Rochester Mazda, which is located just west of the Carlos O'Kelly's site, bought the property in September of 2021 (for a cool $950,000) and is planning on expanding its existing facilities.

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Google Street View
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The new, expanded location will allow customers easier access to Rochester Mazda,  which has been open in Minnesota's Med City since 2012, Kiger said. The dealership will then also be able to display more vehicles closer to Highway-52. Which makes sense. (I always thought that maybe Rochester Mazda would like to have access to that Carlos O'Kellys site along Highway-52-- looks like I was correct!)

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It's just another change in Rochester's landscape, which, if you've noticed, has changed a LOT over the past few years. In fact, keep scrolling to see some familiar locations here in Rah-Rah-Rochester that looked way different just a few years ago!

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Wow! Check out how Rochester has changed throughout the years in these Google photos.

As we are soaring down Hwy 52, it is hard to imagine what life was like in our town before the Target store was built where it is today. Or the house that you live in now, at one point in town, that wasn't there. In fact, Rochester has grown so fast throughout the years, most of our houses weren't even around 50 years ago! Don't believe me? Look through these photos to get a glimpse of what Rochester was like years ago.

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