Anoka to buy vacant triplex near rail station

The city of Anoka plans to buy a foreclosed triplex near the Northstar Commuter Rail station.

The city of Anoka has agreed to purchase 443 North Street for $88,900. Photo courtesy of the city of Anoka

The city of Anoka has agreed to purchase 443 North Street for $88,900. Photo courtesy of the city of Anoka

The rental property at 443 North Street has been vacant for more than a year, according to City Planner Erik Thorvig. It has also fallen into disrepair.

While the council unanimously agreed to purchase 442 North Street for $88,900, Councilmember Steve Schmidt abstained from the discussion and vote. Schmidt owns property in the area.

The city already owns some property nearby, and is buying the triplex as part of an effort to assemble land to resell to a private developer. It has a long-term plan for redevelopment in the area surrounding the rail station that includes a mix of retail, commercial and residential buildings.

Councilmember Mark Freeburg said the purchase fits with Anoka’s long-time goal of reducing the amount of rental property in the city, in particular sub-standard rental units.

“This is just another case when we have a chance to reduce that ratio,” said Freeburg. “It’s part of the ongoing evolution of improving the housing in town.”

Bank of America currently owns 443 North Street.

According to Thorvig, Anoka will pay more than $100,000 less for the property than its appraised value.

He said there had been a private purchase offer on the property, but that fell through.

“What we’re doing is what private industry won’t,” Freeburg said. “The value isn’t there.”

The purchase is being funded through the city’s Enterprise Park Tax Increment Financing District.

Once the city takes ownership, plans are to demolish the building and use it to assemble a larger development block, said Thorvig.

Councilmember Carl Anderson said his personal position on rental property in the city is evolving.

“But I don’t want to see this kind of rental property,” he said, referring to the building that is in poor condition.

Mayor Phil Rice said the benefit of purchasing this particular property is that by assembling pieces to make a package, the city can more easily motivate construction.

He also views the area around the rail station as a place where rental housing would be a good fit.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at editor.anokaunion@ecm-inc.com

  • Pat Walker

    There always seems too be enough money to buy another property or put fancy lights under the bridge. The council can put a fountain in front of City Hall or a new entrance to Greenhaven. There’s plenty of money to buy a bank or the Carpenters Hall, but try to get the neighborhoods new streets and watch the fireworks! Want to drive on smooth roads? Just go visit any council member at home.

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