"The beginning of the end", those were the words of co–developer Rob Else as he kicked off Thursday's groundbreaking for the new Eide Bailly Center.

Dozens of family and supporters were on hand to take part in the event.

Although tenants won't begin to move in until next fall, one of the men behind Mankato's newest development is happy that this day has come.

Co-developer Tony Frentz says "It means a lot to Rob and I. We've been working on this for over three years from getting the land and all the components together, finding the tenants. It means a great deal to be finally here at this point."

The $19 million, seven–story tower will be home to multiple occupants, with Eide Bailly being the main tenant, moving from its old location on Excel Drive.

Neubau Holdings, co–owned by Frentz and Else, along with offices for Knutson Construction (building the center) will also call the center home.

Adding to the mix, retail will be housed on the first floor along with an adjacent parking garage as well as a restaurant.

Vice president and general manager of Knutson Construction says "Have a need for more places to go to eat and socialize on nights and weekends. I think the whole part with the restaurant is potentially a great part of it as well as the streetscape, it's going to going to clean up this area of downtown and tie it altogether better."

The Eide Bailly Center plans to be finished and open by the end of fall 2019 and will be located on the corner of South 2nd Street and East Main Street in downtown Mankato.

More than 170 employees are expected to work inside the building, adding an estimated 50 new jobs.

Pending the passing of permits, Knutson Construction says they intend to begin demolition and foundations within the next two weeks.

- KEYC 12