City considers buying parcelsPublished 9:20am Thursday, July 26, 2012
The Albert Lea City Council on Monday identified seven parcels it is seeking to acquire through tax forfeiture.
The properties are being sought for future redevelopment, said City Manager Chad Adams. A majority of them are south of Front Street and either are on Jefferson Avenue or in the nearby neighborhood.
The parcels are:
• 816 William St.
• 917 Jefferson Ave.
• 806 and 808 Jefferson Ave.
• 821 Jefferson Ave.
• 810 Jefferson Ave.
• 1516 Hawthorne St.
• A vacant lot near the intersection of Third Street and the Union Pacific Railroad crossing.
The tax forfeiture sale had been slated for Aug. 9. It still is on that date for several other properties in the city.
Adams said after the council’s OK, the city will submit a request to Freeborn County officials to withhold the parcels from public sale for up to six months. During that time city staff will negotiate a purchase price for the parcels, which would be less than the fair market value.
Then, if the city moves forward with the acquisition, it likely will demolish the existing buildings on the properties and then seek out a private buyer for redevelopment.
Adams said the city in the future will likely be working with another party — such as a private developer or the Housing & Redevelopment Authority — to redevelop the parcels into affordable housing, possibly with more medium density.
“The ultimate goal is to get these parcels back on the tax rolls through a redevelopment effort,” he said. “If we are able to combine a number of these parcels together as one common owner, it will make the redevelopment coordination of the area easier and more uniform, rather than having multiple owners acquire the lots individually.”
He said there is a need for more affordable housing in the community and in the downtown business district.
The city already owns a couple other parcels in the area, including one on the corner of Front Street and Broadway Avenue, one on South Washington Avenue, one on the corner of Madison Avenue and Jefferson Avenue, and one on Madison Avenue.
In other action, the City Council:
• Approved the 2011 tax forfeiture list.
• Voiced its intent to participate in a Minnesota Department of Transportation project, which will install sidewalks from West Ninth Street to Plainview Lane.
• Passed a resolution supporting equal funding through the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment for Greater Minnesota.
In previous years, Greater Minnesota has received 20 percent of the funding, while the metro area has received 43 percent.
• Heard a presentation about the 2011 financial statements for the city.
• Approved a resolution supporting the Shell Rock River Watershed District’s grant application for management of Albert Lea Lake.
• Approved a resolution supporting the Shell Rock River Watershed District’s grant application for the Goose Lake restoration. The project involves installing a fish barrier to control carp.
• Had the first reading to repeal an ordinance that states that restaurants require licenses from the city.
The city does not require licenses; restaurants are regulated by the state.