HRA still looking at future of 210 Monroe St.

Anoka’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority is still considering the future of one of the historic homes it owns.

The Anoka Housing and Redevelopment Authority has not yet decided on the fate of 210 Monroe St.
The Anoka Housing and Redevelopment Authority has not yet decided on the fate of 210 Monroe St.

Last week the HRA agreed to sell 1632 S. Ferry St. to the city of Anoka.

But the housing authority has not yet decided on the fate of 210 Monroe St., which it bought last year for $190,000.

“Our primary interest was in the land,” said Carl Youngquist, chairperson of Anoka’s HRA.

The HRA now owns the Riverway Clinic on Monroe Street and its nearby parking lot, next to 210 Monroe St. The area will be ripe for redevelopment when the HealthPartners clinic moves into its new location of Highway 10 this summer.

“As the abutting property owner it was more valuable to us than the private market,” said Youngquist.

But that has left the HRA weighing what to do with the historic home, which had been divided into multiple rental units.

After being vacant for 11 months, the HRA purchased it. After a year, it would no longer be able to be used as a multi-unit rental property without a new approval from the Anoka City Council. It has been a long-time goal of both the HRA and the city of Anoka to reduce this type of rental property in Anoka neighborhoods.

Youngquist said the historic look of the outside of the house doesn’t match its interior and an addition to the building also detracts from 210 Monroe’s historic value.

The HRA has directed Housing and Redevelopment Coordinator  Darin Berger to look into three different options for the property, including moving the house to another location in Anoka, selling the house for a minimal price or auctioning it off.

All of the options include having the house moved from its current location.

The discussions on the future of 210 Monroe St. also included the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC).

“We would like to see that house saved, we don’t want to see it torn down,” said Bart Ward, chairperson of the HPC.

Work continues by HRA staff to find a solution. The redevelopment of this particular area is also being studied by the South Central Business District Strategic Planning Committee, a group of area stakeholders that includes city staff, representatives of the Anoka-Hennepin School District, as well as owners of neighboring commercial and residential property and representatives of the Economic Development Commission, Planning Commission, HRA, HPC and Anoka Area Chamber of Commerce.

Berger said he will have some specific proposals for the HRA’s board to consider at its April meeting.

Last week Berger told the HRA he has been working with a local company on a proposal to move the house to a new location within the city. This company is also interested in marketing it as multi-unit investment property, something the HRA does not want.

“At one point there was consensus that it would be single-family,” said Berger. “If no one could monetarily make that work, is that something we would stick to? That’s going to be up to the board.”

Commissioner Merrywayne Elvig said she was torn on the issue if economics would require the house to at least be a duplex in order for it to make financial sense to rehab it.

“Are we off base saying it has to be a single-family?” Elvig asked her fellow HRA members during their March meeting.

Barb Thurston, who lives in the neighborhood and is also a member of the HPC, encouraged the HRA to return the property to a single-family home.

“We’ve been trying for years and years to try and get less rental properties,” said Thurston. “To make it into a duplex you are going to have the same issues, unless you have an owner-occupied duplex. If it’s a historic home it should be made back to a historic home.”

Thurston also said she knows of people who would like to buy the house, if the HRA can make it affordable and if the city could get involved to make it easier to move it to a new lot.

“I’m going to tell you there are people interested, if the price is right,” Thurston said.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]