Pine City officials are hoping to find a developer to build a 10-unit town home for the former site of the Pine City Mill near 4th Avenue SE and 3rd Street SE.

“I wish it had happened faster,” said Pine City Mayor Carl Pederson. “I think we all would. But ... we’ve gotten to the point now that it’s ready for redevelopment.”

The feed mill on the site was owned by the Broz family since 1948, but was closed down in August 2009. It was the last of what were once three feed mills in the city.

The city acquired this property through a court-ordered condemnation due to blight and public safety issues. The buildings were demolished in 2018 at a cost of $58,000.

Due to concerns about contamination at the site, Pine City entered into Minnesota’s Voluntary Investigation Clean-Up, hiring an environmental consulting and engineering firm to develop a plan to submit to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

City officials report that the environmental response work done during and after demolition received approval from the two agencies. However, they also state that some mitigation systems will need to be installed in the new development and disposal of contaminated soils encountered during grading is anticipated.

Housing study points to needs

The Pine City Housing Redevelopment Authority and Minnesota Housing Partnership had a housing market feasibility study done for the site. According to the study, the Pine City market has a demand for 93 total housing units –and the downtown area could accommodate 20 units of market rate rentals. The study recommended a 10-unit town-home design with tuck-under garages for the City-owned Mill site.

Call to developers

Pederson said Pine City Community Development Director Lezlie Sauter has done good work to bring the project to where it stands now.  

“She has really been on task,” Pederson said. “We’ve done everything by the book, and we’re in the position now where we want to entice developers.”

The city has issued a request for proposals, and is hoping that experienced housing developers will respond. According to the city, they are seeking a developer that understands rural housing, is comfortable working alongside city officials and is able to build market-rate rental housing, and finish the city’s environmental response action plan for the site.

To sweeten the deal, the city is prepared to offer Tax Increment Financing, Land Subsidies and Water & Sewer Access Charge Reductions, in addition to connections and assistance in applying for Property Assessed Clean Energy financing, Workforce Housing Program funding and Site Clean-Up and Redevelopment program funding to help with the project feasibility.

Proposal are due July 2. For more information, contact Pine City Community Development Department Lezlie Sauter, Community Development Director at lsauter@pinecitygov.com or 320-438-1020.

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