Mayo system gears up for growthPublished 10:54am Wednesday, May 8, 2013
AUSTIN — While Mayo Clinic garners support for its Destination Medical Center expansion project, Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea and Austin is making preparations of its own.
The Austin hospital has bought three properties over the past year, all on First Drive Northwest, though to what purpose hospital officials haven’t said.
Hospital officials bought the home at 1001 First Drive NW, adjacent to the Austin hospital, last month, while the homes at 911 and 907 First Drive NW were sold to the hospital in July 2012. No formal decisions have been made yet for the property, according to a statement released by medical center spokeswoman Jennifer Levisen.
The property came before the Austin Planning Commission in March to be reclassified as a B-1 neighborhood business district, the same as the A&W All-American Food property owned by Gregg Johnson. Johnson said Tuesday A&W would shut down and the property is for sale, although he didn’t say who was buying it. A&W is located next to the other three properties.
City officials said in March the hospital may use the 1001 property as a potential future parking lot, but hospital officials reiterated Tuesday no firm plans were set.
A&W in Austin to close
Every spring for roughly 75 years, A&W All-American Food in Austin has opened and signaled the start of summer. Starting this year, that will no longer be the case.
A&W owner Gregg Johnson confirmed Tuesday he is retiring, the landmark business will not re-open and the property is for sale.
Johnson’s father bought the drive-in restaurant in 1948, and Gregg has worked there in some fashion since he was 12. He estimates it opened about 10 years before his dad bought it.
“I will really miss all the customers and employees. We had a great bunch,” he said. “But it seemed like the right time to retire.”
Johnson said he made the decision not to re-open this past winter. Before that, he had planned to open again this spring.
Johnson didn’t say who was buying the property. It is next to three homes the Austin hospital purchased over the past year.
— Adam Harringa contributed to this report