HRA approves assistance for revival of bakery

The Anoka Housing and Redevelopment Authority has given its support to lending $50,000 to a new owner trying to reopen a well-known Anoka business.

On a 4-1 vote, the housing authority supported the loan from its commercial loan program for Hans’ Bakery and owners Kelly Olson and Doug Hoskin.

While the owners of Hans’ Bakery had applied for the program’s maximum loan – $100,000 – Housing and Redevelopment Coordinator Darin Berger proposed a loan of $50,000 to the housing authority.

He recommended that amount based on the housing authority’s available funds.

“We have $50,000 in our commercial loan program,” Berger said. “We’re able take from other programs if another application comes in. But to do that for twice of what we have in our account and then do it again if another application was maybe above and beyond what we need to be doing right now.”

The approval from the housing authority will allocate the $50,000 and authorize staff to work with Wells Fargo Bank to process the loan to determine the applicant’s eligibility, according to Berger.

The loan has a 10-year payback period at a 2 percent interest rate.

The money has specific designations for improvements and requires at least matching funds from another lender, which in this case is Wells Fargo.

In the application, the Hans’ Bakery owners estimated project costs at over $202,000.

Under the commercial loan program’s guidelines, a maximum of $25,000 a loan can be used for exterior rehabilitation only and a maximum $75,000 can be used for limited interior rehabilitation.

According to Berger, the funds will be used for upgrades to the heating and air conditioning, electrical and plumbing as well as sign repair, fire suppression, accessibility improvements, parking lot repair and repairs to the building’s facade.

Owner Kelly Olson said there has been a lot of work to do to get the bakery back in business.

The building was in terrible shape when she purchased it – the copper had been stripped from the plumbing and electric utilities and there was damage to the heating and air conditioning  system.

“Essentially it was gutted so we’re trying to bring it back to life and start making beehives again,” Olson said. “Hopefully that we can get there with a little help.”

Olson also said they are pushing to be open by Thanksgiving and have gone ahead with many exterior improvements, including the parking lot and painting of the building.

Commissioner Pat Walker, who voted against the motion to support the loan, had concerns about the geographical boundaries of the housing authority’s commercial loan program, which could not be clarified at the Oct. 15 meeting.

The commercial loan program was first restricted to Anoka’s downtown business district, but the housing authority voted to expand the boundaries in February 2012 to include properties along East River Road between Fifth and Ninth avenues as well as properties near the Green Haven Golf Course.

Walker said wanting clarification on the boundaries was his only concern about the application from Hans’ Bakery, and he otherwise supported the loan to the business.

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

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