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Proposals sought for downtown

With the Downtown Crossing development full, the Lakes Liquor store increasing size and sales, and the anchor businesses in town having another good year, the Detroit Lakes Development Authority is getting ready to sell another prime piece of land to a developer.

The DLDA is putting out a request for proposals for the piece of land that once housed Miguel’s. The 2.6 acres is located a block behind the new municipal liquor store, and the DLDA is welcoming proposals for one large development or two smaller ones on the piece of land.

“We would certainly entertain any proposals, but retail would be a primary use,” DLDA chair Mark Hagen said.

The DLDA is not interested in apartment buildings, he added, but instead something that will draw people off the highway and into town.

“It’s pretty open ended” as to what could go in the space.

“It’s an excellent piece of property,” he said. “Detroit Lakes is a four-season community, especially with this mountain project. (The piece of property) is a tremendous draw.”

The mountain project would be that of the Detroit Mountain Recreation Area, which intends to reopen the downhill ski mountain, along with tubing, cross country ski trails, camping, mountain biking, hiking and more. 

It’s projects like Detroit Mountain that Hagen and the rest of the DLDA are hoping will draw a developer to the downtown project.

Detroit Lakes was once seen as a community that could only support seasonal businesses, Hagen said, but it’s grown to more of a year-round community.

Chamber of Commerce Director Carrie Johnston agrees.

“With developments like Detroit Mountain, mountain biking and crossing country skiing and some of those other outdoor recreation opportunities like that, Heartland Trail, we’re going to expect to see more growth year round,” she said.

“It’s not just about the lake, it’s about other year round recreation and tourism.”

It’s those entities that draw not only the companies to Detroit Lakes but also the workers. Workers want to move where there’s something more than just a job. And that’s a point more and more employers are seeing as well.

“I think with some of the chain brands we’re seeing come, along with the entrepreneurial ventures coming, that’s kind of a testimony that they know they can sustain a business here year round,” Johnston said.

Besides the activities, the DLDA’s request for proposals also highlights the expanding healthcare in Detroit Lakes, with both Sanford Health and Essentia Health St. Mary’s adding onto their facilities and services over the last few years.

About a block southwest of the piece of land there is also new retail with CVS Pharmacy coming to Detroit Lakes within the last couple years as well.

Hagen said the traffic numbers speak for themselves, proving that the piece of land is in a prime location for attracting already existing traffic.

“The traffic on Highway 10 from 2012 is an ADT (average daily traffic) of 16,100 cars. The site is bounded by McKinley Ave with an ADT of 7,700 cars and Frazee Street with an ADT of 11,000 cars,” the RFP states.

There will be access to the property from Holmes Street and Frazee Street, but not McKinley Avenue.

The DLDA is also offering tax increment financing for the project, loans and other funding options. The group has valued the land at about $9 a square foot. The piece of land is 114,000 square feet, making it worth about $1 million.

There is a parking easement on the land for the Lincoln Professional Building for 14 spaces.

Deadline for the proposals to be submitted to Detroit Lakes City Hall is 4 p.m. on Oct. 15. For more information on the land, contact Community Development Director Larry Remmen at 846-7125.

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