At northeast corner of Highways 169 and 610, farmer to extend lease
At its July 17 meeting, the city council – acting as the Economic Development Authority – approved an extension for Target to purchase an approximately 23-acre plot of land the city bought from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
The development authority authorized the purchase of the property Feb. 21, 2017. The 22.84-acre parcel, at the northeast corner of the intersection of Highways 169 and 610, was excess right-of-way for the Highway 610 project. Rather than allow the land to go to sale on the open market, the city purchased the land from MnDOT.
The development authority has a previous development agreement with Target that stipulates that Target could purchase this land from the city at the point it was made available for sale to the city, paying the same price as the city and covering all out of pocket expenses for the development authority.
The city paid $2.24 million for the parcel, which came from the city’s Tax-Increment Financing pool. If the city had not purchased the property, it would have gone to auction.
Target was given an 180-day deadline to purchase the property, with the deadline approaching late this August.
Since the land is in the Oak Grove Station planning area for the Bottineau Light Rail Extension project, Target requested an extension to Dec. 31, 2018, for the purchase of this land. Land negotiations between Target, the city, Hennepin County and Metro Transit are expected to occur in the near future, and the surrounding land could be impacted.
Jennifer Jordan, senior project manager, said the city is hopeful for a series of land swaps that could involve the parcel.
The city can own the property for up to nine years without paying taxes on it, Jordan said.
The extension was approved in a 5-2 vote, with Councilmembers Mark Mata and Bob Mata casting dissenting votes.
Mark Mata said that, while he supports Target’s development efforts in the city, he didn’t want to rule out the possibility of another user developing the parcel.
“Target [has] already built their base three blocks to the east of this parcel. What belongs on this corner is a marquee building, something that’s really tall, somebody else’s headquarters,” he said.
Bob Mata agreed, saying Target would still be able to purchase the parcel without the agreement.
“What if we get another player that comes in and wants that corner?” he asked.
Mayor Jeff Lunde spoke in support of the extensions and said the agreement will allow for a continuation of the development of the area with a single owner.
“From a developer’s point of view, it makes it easier to have these pieces all one piece because there’s one person to negotiate with,” he said. “It is a premo [sic] site. I agree with all the comments that this isn’t [a] ‘let’s put a six story storage unit’ [site]. We want it to be marquee.”
As a result of the extension, the city has also extended an agricultural lease with farmer Bill Brooks on the property through Dec. 31, 2017. Approximately 22 acres of the land will be leased to Brooks for the 2017 growing season at an annual rate of $650.
Brooks farmed the property while it was owned by MnDOT as well.
The lease extension was unanimously approved by the council.