Council approves sale of former Hobby Shop to Ignite Nutrition

Published 9:06 pm Monday, January 8, 2024

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The Albert Lea City Council on Monday approved the sale of the former Hobby Shop building downtown to the owners of Ignite Nutrition, who plan to renovate the building for their nutrition club.

The sale price was $69,000, according to Albert Lea City Manager Ian Rigg.

The city in April announced it had partnered with the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency, Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce and Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau for a redevelopment challenge of the building at 132 S. Broadway.

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The city acquired the building in the summer of 2022 through tax-forfeiture and previously spent about $170,000 in repairs on the property, including a new roof, structural repairs and environmental remediations for the removal of 14,000 pounds of old televisions from the basement of the property.

The building was originally constructed in 1880.

Rigg said the owners of Ignite Nutrition, identified in the approved resolution as Schumaker Enterprises LLC, proposed to put in about $300,000 more into the property and lay the groundwork for potential expansion upstairs with apartments.

In addition to the sale itself, the council approved entering into an agreement with Ignite Nutrition for a traditional loan for $49,000 from the state economic development revolving loan fund, which is used to create and retain jobs, leverage private investment and increase local tax base.

The council also approved an economic development revolving loan fund forgivable loan for $20,000, which requires creating and retaining two jobs by Feb. 1, 2030. Failure to create and retain the two jobs through that date will require that loan to be paid in full.

Third Ward Councilor Jason Howland said he was happy to see the sale moving forward and said he remembers not long after he started on the council eight years ago talking as a council about the roof and building falling apart.

“It’s good to see that in the end this building’s been saved and a business is moving in and is going to improve the property,” Howland said.

Fourth Ward Councilor Sherri Rasmussen said she was happy to see the growth for the homegrown business and that it is staying in the community and expanding.

The business is presently at 701 Marshall St., at the corner of Bridge Avenue and Marshall Street.

Mayor Rich Murray said he wished the best for the owners of the business and said he hoped they would be successful in the community.