Anoka to sell land for phase two of Rum River Shores development

Anoka City Council unanimously approved a purchase agreement that would allow for the extension of a high end housing development at the northern edge of the city.

There are 22 homes under construction in the first phase of Rum River Shores. Photo by Mandy Moran Froemming

There are 22 homes under construction in the first phase of Rum River Shores. Photo by Mandy Moran Froemming

The council has agreed to sell 28 acres to Landmark Development, which currently has the first phase of the Rum River Shores housing development underway.

In this second phase, the purchase agreement calls for Landmark to pay $15,000 for each of the 62 lots north of Bunker Lake Boulevard and west of Seventh Avenue. Landmark will also buy two outlots for $7,500 a piece. They will be used for a neighborhood pool and stormwater ponding, according to Economic Development Manager Erik Thorvig.

There are currently 22 houses under construction in the first phase, according to Landmark Development’s Nathan Fehr. Twelve have already been sold.

That first phase of development calls for 44 single family homes, ranging in price from $400,000 to $750,000.

The second phase of development will feature homes from the same builders in a similar price range of $400,000 to $600,000. The higher priced homes will back up to the Anoka Nature Preserve, a 200-acre protected area along the Rum River.

“When we first talked about the price range of these houses I was a little leery, along with some others,” said Freeburg.  “But it’s working, it’s working well.”

Developing that piece of city-owned property was one of Freeburg’s goals when he first joined the council almost two decades ago.

“It’s taken 18 years but we got it done,” Freeburg said.

Fehr said Landmark will go through the approvals process with the city this summer with grading of the site to start in August or September. Home construction in the second phase would begin next spring.

Once the 28 acres is sold to Landmark, the city will still own 15 acres in the area, which it is marketing for commercial development.

However, the most recent plan for the second phase of development removes a commercial parkway that would provide access to the neighborhood from Seventh Avenue.

“We had a lot of conversations about that,” said Thorvig.

The cost of that road would have been more than $450,000.

“In a conversation with the developer, the city talked about whose road it is and whether it benefits the commercial piece or the residential piece,” he said.

Instead, the city and the developer have settled on a plan that keeps the neighborhood access on Bunker Lake Boulevard and would still allow right-in, right-out access to a commercial development from Seventh Avenue.

Thorvig said a connecting road north of the library could be added at a later date.

Fehr said there was a lot of traffic through the model homes during this spring’s Parade of Homes, with 150-200 people touring them every Saturday and Sunday. He also feels the neighborhood pool is going to be a big selling feature.

“We really think that’s going to steer some of the buyers across the river to Anoka,” Fehr said.

According to Councilmember Steve Schmidt, the Rum River Shores development is expected to generate $600,000 in new taxes in its first 10 years of development.

“This is a real win for the city of Anoka,” Schmidt said.

The council is expected  May 19 to finalize the purchase agreement and have its first look at a development agreement.

According to Thorvig, the land will also require zoning and comprehensive plan amendments, because it is currently designated for commercial development.

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

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