More time to work out a deal on Anoka’s Monroe Street house

Anoka’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority has extended the deadline to move a home more than 130 years old from its current location at 210 Monroe St.

One proposal came in with four different options to move the house at 210 Monroe St.
One proposal came in with four different options to move the house at 210 Monroe St.

The HRA purchased the vacant property back in August 2012, “with the intent to redevelop the lot and the surrounding area,” said Darin Berger, housing manager for the HRA.

After debating the future of the home, built in the 1880s and since divided into a four-plex of rental units, the HRA asked for proposals on relocating the house within the city.

The housing authority is willing to sell the house for $1, but is not willing to pay any costs associated with moving or rehabilitating the home.

At the July 31 deadline the HRA received four proposals from Erik and Amanda Skogquist, outlining different options for relocating the house to different lots within the city.

Along with asking for the house to be relocated within Anoka, the HRA is also requesting it be restored as a single-family home.

While the only request for proposals submitted were by the Skogquists, Berger said he met with six or eight different interested parties

On a 4-1 vote, the HRA agreed to extend the deadline to Sept. 1, giving the Skoquists time to work out a private deal to buy the lot at 314 Monroe St. where the house would be moved to. Commissioner Pat Walker was opposed.

This was the preferred option of the four given to the HRA. Other proposals included moving the home to a lot at 608 School St., but that lot had already been sold by the HRA. City-owned lots at 230 Madison St. and 1800 River St. were also considered, but both of those properties are being evaluated by the South Central Business District Strategic Plan Committee, said Berger.

There is currently no timeline on determining a future land use for those sites, he said, so those two locations are not viable.

The house on the preferred property at 314 Monroe St. has currently been deemed inhabitable by the city’s building official.

Commissioner Lynn Hopkins said extending the deadline would give the two private parties time to work out a deal on the land sale.

“Let them negotiate between the two of them what’s an agreeable price,” Hopkins said.

This process is part of the HRA’s diligence to preserve century old home, rather than tear it down.

“I hate moving deadlines,” said HRA Chairperson Carl Youngquist. “We started back in May with a deadline of July 31 but again I think the HRA is trying to prove to the world that we’re trying to do everything possible to get this project completed.

“If something can’t be done by Sept. 1 then I guess we’ve done everything possible and there’s no other alternative to get to the dirt – that’s what we bought.”

But Walker, voting against the extension, said he is disappointed in the HRA and the Heritage Preservation Commission, which he had hoped would form a task force to work on getting the house moved.

He also thinks to make the deal happen it will require help from the HRA beyond selling the house for $1.

Walker doesn’t think the situation is urgent and the Sept. 1 deadline would not be enough time for the Skogquists to work out a deal to buy the other lot.

“Given that we don’t have a plan of any sort, there is no urgency to remove the house except that some board members would rather look at an empty lot,” Walker said in an e-mail.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at
[email protected]