Ramsey council approves sale of two properties

The city of Ramsey is adding two more of its properties to the tax roll, but one deal was less than a competitor offered at the last minute.

The purchase agreements and sale of properties were unanimously approved May 27. Councilmember Jill Johns was absent.

Imperial Development LLC is buying the former Amoco station property at 5195 142nd Ave. NW for $150,000 to so it can build “a dollar general store,” according to Ted LaFrance, economic development manager.

Casey’s General Store is buying a 1.37-acre parcel on the southwest corner of Ramsey Boulevard and Sunwood Drive in The COR for $596,700.

Kwik Trip at the last minute offered to pay the city more than Casey’s, city staff confirmed. The Ramsey Housing and Redevelopment Authority, which includes all members of the city council, declined to evaluate this option by agreeing to sell the property to Casey’s.

“I’d love to have Kwik Trip come into our city, but this (offer) was at the last second,” Councilmember Chris Riley said. “Our reputation would be at stake if we pulled the rug from under someone at the last minute.”

At the May 27 Ramsey HRA meeting, LaFrance revealed that the city at 5:03 p.m. that day received another offer, but did not specify who or how much. City Administrator Kurt Ulrich suggested the HRA first discuss the proposed Casey’s purchase agreement.

In a subsequent phone interview with ABC Newspapers, LaFrance said Kwik Trip offered $11 per square foot for 2 acres. Casey’s will pay $10 per square foot for 1.37 acres.

LaFrance noted that the city initially thought it would receive approximately $4 per square foot for this property from an office building developer. LaFrance said the $10 per square foot from Casey’s is the market rate for a commercial property in this area, citing the McDonalds deal.

“Casey’s has been a good corporate citizen for many years,” Councilmember Mark Kuzma said. “It wasn’t like they gave us a low-ball offer.”

Negotiations with Casey’s kicked off in January after the convenience store submitted a letter of intent to the city. Kuzma and Riley said a lot of work had been done with Casey’s on upgrading the landscaping plan and the design of the store.

LaFrance said the city will work with Kwik Trip on finding another location.

There was no other potential buyer for the former Amoco station site, so Councilmember Jason Tossey opposed going into closed session. Minnesota Open Meeting Laws do allow cities the discretion to go into closed session when negotiating the sale of property.

Councilmember Randy Backous is happy to see the former Amoco property finally have a buyer.

“I want to thank CBRE,” Backous said of the city’s property marketing consultant. “This property has been sitting there empty for nine years. We appreciate their efforts on getting this property sold.”

City Attorney Joseph Langel suggested inclusion of language in the purchase agreement with Imperial Development, LLC that makes the city not liable for any future cleanup of the 1.01-acre former Amoco gas station property. The clause means the buyer acknowledges that “they’re buying a property that has a history of environmental issues.”

LaFrance said the gas station has long been demolished and the underground tanks removed. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency closed its file on the site in 2002. The city bought the property for $235,000 in 2005, according to county property records.

According to LaFrance, Amoco Oil—now BP Products North America Inc.—required restrictions such as not allowing the development of a service station or convenience store, residential, childcare facility, elder care facility, medical or dental office or a restaurant. Excavation is also limited and no water wells can be installed.

LaFrance said all these restrictions is what drove down the price of the property. The city had hoped to get $175,000, he said.

Eric Hagen is at
[email protected]

  • A Frustrated Ramsey Resident

    We are 15 year residents of the City of Ramsey. We have been driving past empty strip malls along the roads of St. Francis Blvd. and Bunker Blvd between Ramsey and Anoka for years. The idea of a Dollar General Store coming to the old Amoco Station site is absolutely ludicrous. I understand that the new Dollar Store that FINALLY filled the Snyders site is in Anoka but why do the residents of Ramsey need another dollar store just down the road. The west side strip mall had a dollar store a few years back and it closed within a year. This is a waste of resources!

    An Extremely Frustrated Ramsey Resident

    • RegularJoe62

      Well, it’s only a waste of Dollar General’s resources. I’d think even this is an improvement over a vacant property.