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Waterfront gets more time

Developer Drew Olson has been granted an extension on his Waterfront project.

The Detroit Lakes Development Authority has given the project, located at the corner of Washington Avenue and West Lake Drive, a roughly 60-day extension (July 15, to be exact) for getting the Recovery Zone Facility Bonds in place, and a 120-day extension for construction to begin to fulfill his tax increment financing agreement.

"He has been renegotiating the land contract because the appraisal came in differently than planned," Community Development Director Larry Remmen said.

At Olson's 120-day request, Remmen added, "that seems a bit long to me. Sixty or 90 days seems more reasonable to me."

Remmen said he suggested the shorter time period for the land recovery bonds because there are other developers the city could offer the bonds to, if Olson doesn't go through with his project and use the designated bonds.

"It's an honest concern," City Administrator Bob Louiseau said. "The land recovery bond expiration date is the end of the year."

Since Olson took the initiative and got the zone designated, Louiseau said he thinks Olson deserves to use them, but doesn't want the time period to stretch too long and prevent others from using them if necessary.

About $1.37 million has been designated for the Recovery Zone Facility Bonds, and all is being allocated to Olson's Waterfront project, which is estimated to cost around $6.3 million.

Louiseau said the city does have another developer and project in mind if Olson doesn't use the bonds.

Olson said the land appraisal came in lower than anticipated because of some issues with soil testing. But, he is working on selling the condos and commercial space to get the project off the ground.

He said the project is 85 percent filled on the commercial portion and fulfills his requirements with the city on the TIF, and he needs to sell a few more condos to fulfill that portion of the agreement. He said the commercial space is going to a small restaurant and a realty company office so far.