Council to vote Monday on sale of city portion of bank, Jacobson buildings

Published 5:27 pm Friday, October 6, 2023

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The Albert Lea City Council is slated to vote Monday on a purchase agreement and development contract for the city-owned portion of the Freeborn National Bank and Jacobson buildings.

The agreements, with Century Partners LLC, would sell the upper two floors of the bank building and all of the Jacobson Building, upon completion of the exterior repairs, for $1. The council in June approved the issuance of tax increment financing up to $111,500.

Century Partners LLC is made up of a group of five local couples who plan to turn the lower level of the bank building into an event center with health and beauty suites on the second and likely third floors. The lower level of the Jacobson Building is planned to have a coffee shop in the front and pizzeria and bar in the back.

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The front three suites in the Jacobson building overlooking Broadway are planned to be offices, and there are also plans for a rooftop patio.

The developers purchased the basement, main level, mezzanine and second floor of the bank building from Sobro Properties LLC Sept. 28, which had owned that portion of the building since 2018.

Built in 1922, Freeborn National Bank was originally constructed as a bank on the first floor and medical and professional offices in the upper floors. The Jacobson’s first two floors were constructed in 1888, and the two upper floors were added in 1923. The buildings share a staircase and an elevator.

The city purchased the building in 1998 to preserve the buildings and in 2006 spent about $2 million to restore the exterior of the bank building, including tuckpointing, a new roof, a skylight and new water, sewer and electrical service to the buildings, among other improvements.

The city in its weekly newsletter states all agreements with the developers will be contingent upon Century Partners submitting proper plans and specifications to the city.

Century Partners has begun demolition on the interior while leasing the space from the city.