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Some on DLDA ready for action on downtown development

This map shows the area of downtown Detroit lakes being considered for redevelopment.


The Detroit Lakes Development Authority is trying to decide whether to put out a request for proposals for the remaining two-plus acres of land in the redevelopment area south of Holmes Street, or to wait a while longer.

"I have a list of a dozen people that are interested in this," Community Development Director Larry Remmen said.

Of those dozen, he said, there are probably three or four that are serious and the rest are just "tire kickers."

The area is south of Holmes Street where the old Miguel's building sits.

The issue with the piece of land is that both Bremer Bank and those owning the Lincoln Professional Building have a stake in a portion it.

To the west of the 2.1 acres the city owns -- the city owns the grassy area -- is where the old Miguel's building sits. Bremer Bank owns that property and the parking spaces around it up to the Essentia Health St. Mary's property where the dialysis unit is (the former County Market building and parking lot). The total of that area is about 18,700 square feet.

Here's the hitch: the Lincoln Professional Building has a permanent easement with Bremer Bank for 14 of those parking spaces. So, if Bremer Bank was to sell that piece of land to the city, Bremer Bank would have to provide 14 parking spaces for the Lincoln Professional Building elsewhere.

"It certainly has some value to them," Remmen said of the city to be able to purchase that chunk of land from Bremer Bank to have a more uniform piece of land to sell for development.

In the same breath though, it causes less value to Bremer Bank to sell it because of having to provide parking spaces for the Lincoln Professional Building somewhere else, he added.

There are some members of the development authority that also find value in owning the Lincoln Professional Building -- which is about 12,000 square feet -- so that Lincoln Avenue "could go away," Remmen said. Lincoln Avenue only accesses the Lincoln Professional Building now, and cuts through to Essentia Health's parking lot.

The debate among DLDA members is whether or not to put out a request for proposals on the piece of land the city already owns, or wait to purchase the land from Bremer Bank and Lincoln Professional Building and sell a larger chunk.

City officials have been talking with the other two stake holders to see if they are willing to negotiate. Both have agreed to negotiate, but nothing has been agreed upon yet.

Those talks have taken some time though. Time that some development authority members believe isn't worth waiting for any longer.

Mary Beth Gilsdorf has been pushing the last few DLDA meetings to move forward with a request for proposals from developers to see what they are interested in -- whether they just want the city-owned property land or want the Bremer Bank-owned land as well. She said there's no motivation for anyone to do something with the project when everything is up in the air like it is now.

Others on the development board are more reserved, wanting to wait to see what will happen with Bremer Bank and the Lincoln Professional Building owners.

Tom Klyve said the group can put out an RFP and still deny them if none are what the DLDA is looking for.

Hoping to move forward, Gilsdorf made a motion at last week's meeting to "finalize it and put it out with the property we own" and list that there are two possibilities of other land being involved, just to see what the interest is from developers. She added that the RFPs need to be back to the city by the end of August.

Her motion died due to the lack of a second.

"In order to move, you have to make a move," Remmen said.

The DLDA agreed to discuss the item again at the March meeting and hopefully "tweak" the proposal for RFPs and vote on it.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.