The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

December 6, 2012

Developer proposes major remaking of downtown block



“It was important for us to get (the plan) out early so the council and public can react to it. There are a number of pieces that have to be put in place.”

Hentges said city staff has met with many of the proposed tenants for the building as well as the bank that would finance it and thinks the developer has put together a viable project. 

Mankato Community Development Director Paul Vogel said the city’s role would be to increase parking in the area for use by customers and employees of the new businesses and other businesses in the area. 

“It’s an exciting project,” Vogel said.

The parking ramp and a new surface parking lot across Front Street, along Warren Street, would cost a total of about $5 million. The city will apply for a state redevelopment grant and federal funds to cover some of the cost.

 The developer would contribute $1.3 million toward the parking improvements. That will come in the form of the developer razing some buildings and donating the land for the parking ramp and parking lot.

A tax-increment district would be established by the city. Tax increment uses the increased property taxes from a new development to help pay costs of the development. In many cases the developer of the project gets those tax increment payments to help cover their costs. In this case, Vogel said, the tax-increment payments will cover the costs of the three-level parking ramp and parking lot.

“This is a case where the developer really stepped up,” Vogel said.

The surface parking lot on the corner of Front and Warren would require removing two small buildings. Tailwind owns the building that was home to a longtime antique store and is working with the owner of the adjacent Survey Services building.

The Mankato City Council, acting as the Economic Development Authority, will give the plan a preliminary review at its Monday meeting. The final plan should be ready in January, including lease agreements and financing agreements from the developer.

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