The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

November 12, 2013

Nicollet County approves St. Peter purchase of failed subdivision

St. Peter has proposals to resell town home development

MANKATO — The City of St. Peter's plan to guide the redevelopment of the failed Welco West subdivision on the western side of the city advanced Tuesday with the Nicollet County Board's divided decision to transfer ownership of the property.

Valued at just over $1 million, the 12.7-acre subdivision entered tax forfeiture earlier this year due to unpaid taxes and assessments. Nicollet County would normally proceed to auctioning off the lots after taking possession of the subdivision, but the city of St. Peter submitted a request to take ownership of the property.

St. Peter City Administrator Todd Prafke said the subdivision is very difficult to redevelop due to the lots being only platted for town house units, thus adding significant cost and paperwork to any plan involving a different type of housing. He said the city wants to help any potential developer quickly navigate the paperwork. He also said the city is interested in controlling the property to emphasize redevelopment proposals that fill city-wide needs outlined in St. Peter's housing study.

He said this is the first time the city requested this unique approach.

The Nicollet County Board approved a draft resolution Tuesday authorizing the transfer of the subdivision on a divided 3-2 vote. The debate among the commissioners was whether the need to guarantee timely development of the subdivision was more important than the funds Nicollet County could hypothetically capture by eventually selling the property. Additionally, since the city wants Nicollet County to declare the subdivision "economically blighted" for the formal justification of the transfer, commissioners asked that officials verify state statutes are met for the classification.

The city agreed to sell the subdivision for $463,000 with Nicollet County receiving $47,000 for transfer related costs and the city receiving the remaining $416,000 to recoup the current outstanding assessments. The City will not turn a profit on the sale, but both the city and Nicollet County will gain new tax revenues when the property is redeveloped.

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