Hotel project takes another step forward
The Northfield Council voted 6 to 1 in favor of directing City Staff to develop a business subsidy agreement with Rebound Enterprises for the development of an 80 unit Fairfield Inn at The Crossings at Hwy 3 and 2nd street. Mayor Graham told KYMN that, “the bottom line, I think councilors were satisfied that this is a good project, that it’s good for Northfield, that it’s the highest and best use possible for that space”. During their meeting with the EDA, Steven Bubul, bond counsel for Kennedy & Graven, who was part of the original project in 2005, said
the project won’t happen without City involvement. Community Development Director Chris Heineman noted that the economy’s dive in 2008 halted further development and since then there’s been very little interest. He said it’s a “very difficult site to develop, it’s very constrained land area as well as complicated soil conditions”. The plan includes further development within the immediate area. Bubul told Council that Carleton College is interested in investing. He said they believe, “this is an important issue to the City, it could help the City”. They hope to get a reasonable return and, “would allow for something that would otherwise not happen”. Their Board meets next week to further consider it. The deal with Rebound Enterprises could involve dollars from 2 different TIF districts, land and other possible alternatives for cash assistance. In turn, they must provide a certain number of full time jobs and adhere to other stipulations. The project must be completed by the end of 2017. This will come back to council May 17th. Councilor Ludescher believes that the Business Subsidy Agreement approved does not meet the standard of the charter or the statute. I’ve posted a link to the statute he’s referring to. Rebound is asking for an additional $650,000 along with other subsidies.
First Nat’l Bank to close downtown drive-up banking
First National Bank of Northfield is closing its downtown drive-up banking at 529 Division St. Vice President of Business Development, Rick Estenson, said after years of consideration, looking at all of their options, they decided to close it on July 29th. Estenson said no jobs will be lost, and in fact, they will put money into their downtown location. They plan to remove the building and lanes in August and deal with any environmental issues, if there are any, at that time. There are parties interested in the mobile site near The Armory including Jonathon Reppe and the Imminent Brewing group have talked with First National independently. Estenson says there are no offers are on the table right now but they’d like to see something on the site sooner than later. He added that they’re excited about the Armory project.
Reppe looks to turn Armory into a “commercial condo”
Speaking of… Jonathon Reppe spoke with Jeff Johnson this morning. He said the community has been really supportive of their purchase of the Armory and there’s a lot of excitement to see something happen there. Reppe and his wife will own the building and divide it. Their intent is to make this a “common interest community. Most people use the term condo, but it will be a commercial condo divided into 3 parts”. The garage/shed area will be sold to Imminent Brewing who will be putting in a craft brewery with a tap room. The downstairs and basketball area will be section 2 of the development. Upstairs will become a residential condo where he and his wife will live. He admits it’s going to be a big project but, “structurally the Armory is in great shape, it has a fairly new roof on it, the heating and air conditioning systems are fairly up to date, but frankly, the electrical system really needs to be updated”. Reppe says they also want to be “green” with the building and are looking at solar panels. Bids say they could place 120 panels on the roof, “and that amount of panels would more than provide enough electrical energy for the building”. There’s much more to the interview. Listen online at HERE.
Weitz expansion will interrupt traffic on 4th street till next year
The Weitz Center expansion will affect traffic on 4th street for over a year. And it starts today. According to Engineer Sean Simonson, there will be a lane shift that will eliminate the parking on Fourth Street, the dedicated westbound bike lane, and the sidewalk on the north side of Fourth Street between Union and Winona. Concrete jersey barriers will be at the site throughout the duration of the expansion project which is expected to be completed in June of 2017.
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