Blaine EDA buys abandoned gas station property

The Blaine Economic Development Authority (BEDA) has purchased the abandoned Yes Gas station at 9021 University Ave. N.E. from Anoka County.

Commissioners agreed earlier this month the city should buy the tax forfeit land and building after a report from Bryan Schafer, planning and community development director.

According to Schafer, the station has been vacant since 2008. Anoka County held title to this property and was willing to sell it for $30,000 if the city agreed to remove the three underground tanks.

The EDA also owns the adjacent property to the south of the Blaine gas station site.

Earlier this year, commissioners ordered a groundwater study on the site and adjacent areas.

According to Schafer, a returned report found no significant contamination on or off site and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has closed its file on this site.

Pooled tax increment financing (TIF) funds are being used to complete the property purchase, remove the underground storage tanks and demolish the existing building and canopy.

During the June 7 meeting, commissioners awarded Sauter and Sons a $11,000 demolition contract and $7,800 tank removal contract. Project contingency fees were set at 10 percent.

Nova Consulting was awarded a $2,578 tank removal monitoring contract.

Commissioners unanimously approved the gas station property purchase and contract requests.

Commissioner Mike Bourke asked Schafer if the gas station site would require soil correction.

“We don’t believe there will be more than a few bucketfuls of dirt from around the tanks,” Schafer said.

Commisssioner Wes Hovland said local residents would be happy the blighted and vacant building would be torn down. “It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “Finally, we’ve got a large enough piece of property so we can start looking at getting this back on the tax rolls.”

Commissioner Dick Swanson said the property purchase could help clean up the entire University Avenue corridor and eventually change the area’s image.

Schafer told commissioners the city initially spent $7,000 to $8,000 to check preliminary soil contamination. Prior testing results also were reviewed.

“There were spills there in the past, but now the MPCA feels that any on-site spills that did occur are no longer of any concern,” Schafer told commissioners.

Tim Hennagir is at [email protected]