City awarded another $189K for redevelopment of Blazing Star Landing where convenience station is slated

Published 10:33 am Monday, April 1, 2024

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The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development on Monday announced $189,000 in redevelopment grant funds to the city of Albert Lea for public infrastructure improvements on the Blazing Star Landing, where a 9,100-square-foot convenience store with multiple filling pumps and a car wash is slated to be built.

DEED announced the grant as part of a total of $2.2 million in redevelopment funding to eight communities statewide.

The Blazing Star Landing was formerly the site of a meat-packing facility for nearly 100 years, which burned down in 2001. It has remained primarily vacant due to soil contamination costs.

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The release stated the convenience store project will create six jobs, retain 13 jobs, increase the tax base by $54,824 and leverage $9.1 million of private investment. Matching funds will be paid by the city.

The grant announcement came after DEED awarded the city about $130,000 in January to go toward contamination cleanup as part of a separate grant.

In addition to the convenience store, the city is working to develop other portions of the land into apartments and potentially other retail spaces.

According to a press release, the redevelopment grant program helps communities with the costs of redeveloping blighted industrial, residential or commercial sites and putting land back into productive use.

“Redevelopment funding is a great resource that communities can use to invest in themselves,” said DEED Commissioner Matt Varilek. “Redeveloping unusable land produces significant economic growth, attracts investment and revitalizes neighborhoods in communities around Minnesota.”

Since its inception in 1998, the Redevelopment Grant Program has made 247 awards worth $84.8 million in grant funds. This funding has created or retained 31,107 jobs, attracted nearly $3.9 billion in private investment and created 9,409 housing units, 2,985 of which are affordable.

Redevelopment grants pay up to half of the redevelopment costs for qualifying sites, with a 50% local match. They can assist with the cost of public land acquisition, building and site demolition, infrastructure improvements, soil stabilization and ponding or other environmental infrastructure.