The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

December 6, 2012

Developer proposes major remaking of downtown block

MANKATO — The biggest downtown development project in recent history is being proposed, promising to transform a downtown block, bringing a multi-story office tower, a five-story retail and apartment building, and a parking ramp.

Mankato development firm Tailwind Group is hoping to start construction on the $15.8 million project in the spring.

 The office six- or seven-story tower, on the corner of Riverfront Drive and Warren Street, would bring a new business to town that would employ  about 30 people with another 100 or more employees in the building coming from local businesses that relocate there.

Another five-story building would be built along South Front Street, where Miller Motors and RedSky Lounge are located. Those two buildings would be razed. RedSky would locate in part of the first floor of the new building. Three floors of the building would feature 15 upscale apartments.

A pedestrian walkway would run between the new building and Pagliai’s Pizza to a parking ramp to be located behind the five-story building and adjacent to the office tower. A piece of land on the corner of Riverfront Drive and Cherry Street is slated for a possible future tower.      

The developer is seeking no public subsidy for the development, which would be the largest downtown project since the civic center and Hilton Garden Inn.

The city would make the parking improvements, but no general fund money would be used and the developer would contribute significantly to the parking improvements.

“We’re excited about it,” said Kyle Smith, director of strategic development for Tailwind Group. “We’ve been working on this for years.”

Smith said he is still finalizing the lease agreement with the new business that would move into the office tower and with other tenants. “I think it’s a viable and real project.”

City Manager Pat Hentges said that even though the developer hasn’t finalized everything, the city wanted to get the proposal out.

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