Council approves purchase agreement for housing on Blazing Star Landing

Published 6:56 am Thursday, July 13, 2023

The Albert Lea City Council on Monday approved a purchase agreement for four acres of property at the Blazing Star Landing to accommodate 60 units of low- to moderate-income apartments, as well as 68 units of senior housing.

The council in May had voiced support for the proposal by Tapestry Companies on a portion of the former Farmland Foods, which burned down in 2001. In May the land had not been officially platted and legal descriptions had not been approved, so a purchase agreement could not be passed.

City Manager Ian Rigg said with all of that down now and the agreement approved, the closing date would probably not take place for some time, as there were several other things that still needed to be done, including the remediation plan for the property.

Email newsletter signup

He said the purchase agreement was needed as the company turns in paperwork as it applies for housing tax credits for the project.

The resolution lists a closing date of Dec. 31, 2024.

This map provided by the city of Albert Lea shows the Blazing Star Landing lots for sale.

The apartments, which would include a combination of one- to four-bedroom units, according to a previous meeting, would be built on Block 2 of the preliminary plat for the property, leaving the northernmost part of the property still open for retail and commercial development.

Albert Lea Mayor Rich Murray asked if the location was the best place to put the development, and Rigg referenced about 11% of people in the community who do not have access to a car or regular transportation. Rigg said it would be centrally located and people living there would be able to access transit options.

Murray also asked how long the property could be tied up under the agreement in the event the project did not get the state funding.

Rigg said essentially the city would be holding it until 2025. In the event the developers don’t get the funding the first year, it could apply the next year one additional time.

Fourth Ward Councilor Sherri Rasmussen said she has heard from some people who have questioned why higher-end apartments can’t be put at the property and said some people are concerned about having low-income housing there.

Rigg said the agreement requires an $8,000 deposit from the purchaser.  In addition, the city may provide in-kind contributions that consist of sewer and water access fees, park land dedication fees, stormwater retention, grading and site preparation and installation of geo-piers, which will be in the development agreement once approved.