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Delays hit Downtown Crossing : Developers say project still a go

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Delays hit Downtown Crossing : Developers say project still a go
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

No single thing can be pinpointed as the cause of the delay, but the Downtown Crossing project is going forward, just maybe not as quickly as everyone had hoped.

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"There are no issues or reasons we wouldn't do it," said Jim Buus, vice president and managing broker-owner with Goldmark Schlossman Property. The firm is a part of the DLM Downtown Properties, LLC, group that is developing the Downtown Crossing project.

The Detroit Lakes City Council had scheduled a special meeting Thursday to award bids on infrastructure improvements for the site behind Norby's Department Store and Veterans Memorial Parkway.

Bids were to be honored through Friday -- a 30-day bid hold -- but the council meeting was then canceled.

City Engineer Jon Pratt said he talked to those who had submitted bids and they agreed to extend their bid holds until July 15. The council will likely award the bid at its regular July 12 meeting.

"We're hoping to get all the necessary things in place here real soon ... take action on it," he said. "Things are still progressing. They're still moving and ahead and everybody is still committed to the project, it's just unfortunately getting hung up a little bit."

Developers DLM Downtown Properties, LLC, confirms that yes, the group is still on board with the project.

Buus said, "My quick answer is yes, we're 100 percent on board and planning to move ahead."

He said there are a few minor issues that the city is trying to resolve to get titles to the development site.

"That's an issue they raised, but I think we have that issue resolved," City Administrator Bob Louiseau said. "I don't think that's an issue."

He does agree there are a few minor things to be taken care of, but titles shouldn't be a problem.

"That's one issue that's causing us just a little wait-and-see for a couple days," Buus said.

As for DLM, he said they have tenants "for a good portion of the project" with signed leases, and that they fully intend to move ahead.

"Timing is always a question," he said. "If I was to speculate, we intend to move forward in the next 30-60 days."

Buus said he hates to back himself into a timeline, but the group is hoping to break ground soon.

"We have signed leases, so I wouldn't be signing leases if I wasn't fully intending on moving ahead with this," he said.

Louiseau said things like telephone cables is one of the minor items that need to be resolved yet, but it's nothing to set the development back longer. And the developers are getting things lined up and finalized on their end as well, he added.

"I think the biggest reason for the delay is to just get all the timing on different things so it lines up a little bit better," Louiseau said.

When the development agreement was first signed months ago, the city asked the developers to break ground by June 30 to open the city up to more tax increment financing benefits. With the deadline about to pass, Louiseau said it's not a worry anymore because the state has pushed the deadline back a year.

"What we'll probably do is just an amendment to our development agreement," he said. "We even looked at phasing some of the construction so they can get going on part of it this fall and then finish up next spring."

So while a purchase agreement has not been signed as of yet, that doesn't mean the project isn't happening.

"There are still variables floating out there that are out of my control and the city's control, but all I can say is everyone's getting along and everyone is working hard to get this going," Buus said.

"We're just trying to extend our deadline a little to match their timeline," Louiseau said.

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