Blaine buys closed University Avenue gas station

Staff Writer
I cover the cities of Andover, Blaine and Ramsey. I have worked at ABC Newspapers since August 2007.

Blaine has reached a tentative agreement to purchase a closed gas station on University Avenue that will be demolished so the site can be marketed to a small retail developer.

The Blaine Economic Development Authority on Feb. 16 approved a purchase agreement of $260,000 for a 0.63-acre parcel at 10501 University Ave. NE. The city will demolish the Go For It Gas station that closed in June 2014 so it can market the property for a small commercial development. File photo
The Blaine Economic Development Authority on Feb. 16 approved a purchase agreement of $260,000 for a 0.63-acre parcel at 10501 University Ave. NE. The city will demolish the Go For It Gas station that closed in June 2014 so it can market the property for a small commercial development. File photo

The Blaine Economic Development Authority on Feb. 16 approved the city paying $260,000 for a 0.63-acre property at 10501 University Ave. NE.

The city will not close on the purchase until the current owner – SSP, Inc. – removes the underground gas tanks and receives confirmation from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency that there is no gas leak or other contamination left in the soil, according to Blaine Economic Development Coordinator Erik Thorvig.

Once the underground tanks are gone and the city knows there are no soil cleanups needed, the city would close on the sale and pay for the demolition of the old Go For It Gas station that has been closed since June 2014, Thorvig said.

Mayor Tom Ryan commented that “this is a major move to improve” this property.

The mayor assumes there is “probably a 90 percent chance” that soil clean-up will be needed. Thorvig agreed there is a good chance that SSP, Inc. will have to pay for some soil clean-up after the tanks are removed, but said there is a state fund that covers 90 percent of the environmental clean-up costs for gas tank removal projects.

The city will not have to pay any part of the costs of removing the tanks or cleaning up the soil.

“That’s a positive for our people because you get it cleaned up and it’s going to be on (the current owner’s) dime,” Ryan said.

The city is planning to market the 0.63-acre parcel, but has already received some interest after the EDA in January asked Thorvig to negotiate for purchase of the land. Thorvig told the EDA he met with a developer on Feb. 15 that said they know of a sandwich shop that likes small sites like these.

The $260,000 Blaine is paying is $90,000 less than SSP, Inc. was most recently asking for, but similar to what the property was first listed at in 2015 with a different broker.

SSP, Inc. bought the property in May 2000 for $230,000, according to property tax records. There are no delinquent taxes for this property. The 2017 Anoka County assessor’s value is $239,800.

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