Blaine EDA sells 2.5-acre site along Highway 65

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

The city of Blaine is selling a 2.5-acre site at 8600 Central Avenue.

The Blaine Economic Development Authority approved the sale at its March 16 meeting, but the developer said it is too early to announce any businesses for the two planned multi-tenant buildings. The only hint was a sandwich shop as one of the tenants.

Java Companies, LLC, is purchasing the property for $650,000. Blaine bought the property 22 years ago for $279,400.

“I’d like to get it back on the tax rolls,” Mayor Tom Ryan said.

Located near Dairy Queen and a Kwik Trip gas station, Blaine has been marketing this property since October 2015 and originally listed it for $750,103.

In the summer of 2015, the city re-located a service road to the west side of Kwik Trip and extended it north so that its 2.5-acre property would have road access. The city paid for the road work and for the purchase of a road easement from Dairy Queen with Tax Increment Financing dollars and did not assess any costs to property owners in the area.

The Blaine EDA did not pay any property taxes on this land for the first 15 years, but the tax exemption went away after 15 years. The 2017 property tax payment would have been $26,767 in 2017.

According to Economic Development Coordinator Erik Thorvig, inquiries have come from mini-storage and trailer and auto sales businesses that city staff did not feel would be good users for this property. A hotel developer has shown interest in this property and an adjoining property for the last two years, but no formal offer was made.

Java Companies is proposing to construct two retail buildings of 2,200 square feet and 3,500 square feet. The smaller building would be for a sandwich shop. There is no tenants secured for the second building, Thorvig said in his report to the Blaine EDA.

While the EDA agreed to sell the property, the property sale will not close for another six months. The city needs to approve a site plan and Blaine City Council approval may be needed.

Planning and Community Development Director Bryan Schafer told the EDA that city staff was “underwhelmed” by the proposal because of the small size of the buildings on the 2.5-acre lot. But he said the developer could build the sandwich shop first and then construct a larger second building once tenants are signed on.

Thorvig said the deed for the property would contain restrictions to limit the type of tenants that Java Companies could lease to. Therefore, the mini-storage and trailer and auto sales businesses could not just work with this private company after being told ‘no’ by the city.

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