Former Ramsey School could become housing

Published 9:54 am Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Market rate housing may soon be available where a school once was.

The Albert Lea City Council unanimously approved the first reading of a rezoning Tuesday, which would allow for the construction of nearly 30 housing units at the old Ramsey School at 211 E. Fourth St.

The rezoning would change the site from being zoned a one- to four-family residence district to being a multi-family residence district.

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Schoolhouse LLC purchased the property earlier this year and plans to build 12 units on the building’s first and second floors in the first phase of the project. An additional 17 units are planned to be built in the second phase, and an addition to the building is planned to accommodate second-phase development.

Final approval could come at the council’s next meeting Jan.9.

City Planner Molly Patterson-Lundgren said the project would add market rate housing and complement previous construction work at the building.

“It’s a rehabilitation of an existing site, of an existing structure,” she said.

The project would also bring much needed market rate housing to the community, Patterson-Lundgren said.

“So, there’s been quite a lot of discussion about the need for market rate housing,” she said. “Not the high end, not the lower end, but just that middle … it would be like the teachers, workers at (Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea), people who are kind of at middle-of-the-road income levels.”

Schoolhouse has started interior demolition, and a construction timeline is not known.

According to city documents, what remains of the building was built in 1967. The Albert Lea School District used it in the 1990s for community education programs, but the building has been vacant for years.

The building has not been used as a school since 1980.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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