Hoffman offers new direction for the residents of Ward 2

Published 10:40 am Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thirty-seven-year-old Robert Hoffman loves Albert Lea.

Robert Hoffman

Robert Hoffman

It is for this reason, Hoffman, a real estate broker and property manager, is seeking office against incumbent 2nd Ward Councilor Larry Baker in the Nov. 4 general election. Baker, who works in construction, has served two terms.

Born and raised in the city except for his time away attending college, Hoffman said he has turned away jobs in other communities to stay in Albert Lea.

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“I want to give back to a community that has given me so much,” Hoffman said.

He and his wife, Angie, a Tribune sales representative, reside at 709 W. Fountain St. with their two dogs, Max and Jack.

The couple owns eight properties and manages about 50 rental units. They also manage the former Walmart store in Albert Lea, about which Hoffman anticipates making a big announcement within the next month.

Hoffman volunteers on the Minnesota Housing Authority’s board of directors and has served in leadership positions on both the Albert Lea Planning Commission and Heritage and Preservation Commission. He has served as an Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce Ambassador.

Involved with the rental property business, he said he thinks a key issue that needs to be addressed — not only in his ward but the whole city — is quality rental housing.

He said he is concerned there is not enough quality housing available for business people moving to the community.

“I’m concerned that our housing inventory has led to great people who could have been great Albert Leans deciding to take housing elsewhere,” he said.

Looking ahead, Hoffman said he thinks one of the biggest issues facing the 2nd Ward is the continued revitalization of downtown Albert Lea. Now that Broadway has been renovated, the city needs to promote the downtown and try to attract more businesses there.

He said he believes in the downtown so much that he and his wife bought a downtown building at 212 S. Broadway. The first floor presently is the site of Copper Kitchen.

He said he is concerned with downtown parking for renters and has proposed landlords and tenants receive permits to park overnight.

Regarding taxes, he said he agrees with the city’s proposed 3 percent tax levy increase for 2015 but in the future wants to see the community grow faster than its taxes are raised to keep up.

He said he is close to many leaders in Albert Lea, not only with many existing leaders who have been part of the community for a long time, but other younger, emerging leaders as well.

In the end, he said, he just wants people to be proud of Albert Lea.