Coon Rapids approves city loan for pizza restaurant expansion

A pizza restaurant’s expansion project has received a financial boost from the Coon Rapids Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

At its meeting June 3, the HRA, which comprises the seven members of the Coon Rapids City Council, unanimously approved a $100,000 loan for Chanticlear Pizza’s project at the Northlake Shoppes retail center at the intersection of Northdale and Crooked Lake boulevards.

In March, the Coon Rapids Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit for the restaurant, which will lease 4,371 square feet at the center. Chanticlear Pizza currently occupies a storefront in the center, but only for a take-out and delivery service.

Through the expansion, Chanticlear Pizza will take over the space that formerly housed a convenience store with retail gas sales. The expanded restaurant will includes a full kitchen, bar area and seating for 109 customers.

Existing take-out and delivery service will continue, and outdoor patio seating will be available under the gas pump canopy, the gas pumps having been removed.

Earlier this year, HMM LLC, a partner in the Chanticlear Pizza project, received approval from the council for a class A liquor license, Sunday liquor license and tavern license.

The HRA contribution will come from a revolving loan fund, which was created in March 2013 as a tool to facilitate economic development projects in Coon Rapids that meet the city’s development goals, including job creation, according to Matt Brown, city community development specialist.

The new Chanticlear Pizza restaurant is projected to create up to 38 new full- and part-time jobs, Brown said.

Funding for the revolving loan fund comes from the city’s HRA account and repayments of Minnesota Investment Fund loans for economic development projects in Coon Rapids, he said.

Even though the Minnesota Investment Fund loans are from state dollars, the city can keep the interest payments on those loans to help fund other economic development projects in the city, Brown said.

The $100,000 loan, which will be repaid over seven years at a 4 percent interest rate, will comprise about 20 percent of the project cost; other sources are a bank loan, owner equity and the property owner’s tenant improvement allowance, according to Brown.

Staff from the Central Minnesota Development Company reviewed the loan application for the HRA and recommended approval of the request.

“Staff feels that this project meets the HRA’s loan guidelines and is a good candidate for HRA assistance,” Brown said.

Work on the project is expected to take 90 to 120 days, with the goal to be open by the time the Coon Rapids High School plays its first football game in late August, the HRA was told.