Developer requests subsidy to start Ramsey business park

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

A Ramsey company that has developed an office building, apartments and a VA Clinic in The COR wants to kick-start a new business park.

But PSD, LLC is requesting a contribution of approximately $500,000 from the city, which would come from in the form of Ramsey constructing a public road in the business park and a nine-year Tax Increment Financing District.

This would amount to roughly 10 percent of PSD’s total costs which includes buying 45 acres from a private landowner, site grading and clean-up, creating a new stormwater pond and road infrastructure and constructing a 60,000-square-foot building which would be the first of up to seven buildings.

There are no tenants signed on so this first building would be built on speculation that there’s a market demand for it, according to Matt Kuker, of PSD.

“There’s a pent-up demand for industrial space in Ramsey,” Kuker said.

The Ramsey City Council will hold a public hearing on June 27 before it considers PSD’s request. If the vote is affirmative, PSD would still need approval from the council on its development concept.

Ramsey has been master planning a new business park along Bunker Lake Boulevard on the north side of Highway 10 and west of Armstrong Boulevard since 2013 without any developers names stepping up to get that first project started.

The original 93-acre concept included two major landowners, but this changed when the Pearson family decided to sell land to Capstone Homes for a housing development.

This left Hageman Holdings. It owns 107 acres of developable land on both sides of Bunker Lake Boulevard.

Patrick Brama, assistant city administrator and economic development manager, told the council on March 28 that PSD had signed a letter of intent to purchase 45 acres from Hageman Holdings on the south side of Bunker.

Kuker and Mike Hageman, of Hageman Holdings, were at the March 28 workshop to listen to the council’s discussion.

After not hearing major opposition to the subsidy, Kuker filed an application in April. The council formally accepted the application at its April 25 meeting, but not said ‘yes’ at this point.

“I’m interested in moving the dialogue down the road,” said Council Member Mark Kuzma.

The building would have glass facades on the side facing Highway 10 to improve the building appearance.

But the fact that the 60,000 square-foot building would be “built on spec” means the city cannot definitively say how many jobs will be created in order to provide hard evidence to help justify the business subsidy.

“I like this kind of building. The only thing better would be people in it,” Council Member Kristine Williams commented on March 28.

While this would be PSD’s first industrial park development, Kuker said they have connections and know there is a general market demand. He said this building would be a good spot for a light industrial company that could also have a showroom to draw people in from Highway 10.

One company asked Kuker if they could finish a building in four months for them to move into. Kuker said that’s not enough time to get council approval for a building and then construct it. That’s why PSD wants to get to work as soon as possible..

“A lot of these industrial people have short lead times,” he said.

Kuker would like the building to be completed by the end of 2017.

In the long-term, this 45-acre site PSD is buying from Hageman Holdings could have up to seven buildings of similar size, although Kuker said he would be flexible in considering larger buildings.

But beyond hearing a market demand for light industrial, Kuker is excited for the chance to help bring more jobs to Ramsey which ultimately will help the city grow.

PSD’s interest in seeing the city prosper extends beyond the business park. According to Kuker, PSD owns about 30 acres of undeveloped land in The COR. The company’s 122-unit apartment complex near The Draw park is more than 60 percent leased and PSD is starting to work on plans for a second apartment building that would have around 100 units, according to Kuker.

PSD also owns the former Diamonds Sports Bar site on the southwest corner of Highway 10 and Traprock Street by the entrance to the Mississippi West Regional Park.

Residents will see tree clearing and site grading happen on the prospective business park site prior to the council voting on the subsidy because there’s a lot of work that needs to be done, Kuker noted. There’s a large dirt pile on the site that came from Hageman’s property on the north side of Bunker when that land was slated for a new campus for Meadow Creek Christian School (name later changed to Legacy Christian Academy). Legacy no longer has plans for a new school at this site.

“We’re excited to see this (business park) move forward,” Kuker said. “It will bring more job growth.”

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