With apartment project on hold, council approves returning cleanup grant to state

Published 6:45 am Tuesday, April 9, 2024

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With the second phase of the apartments at the Blazing Star Landing on hold because of unstable market conditions, the Albert Lea City on Monday voted to relinquish the grant funds the city had received from the state to clean up the soil at the site.

Albert Lea City Manager Ian Rigg said the developers are still interested in completing the project, which would bring an additional 96 apartment units once conditions approve, and the city felt that to remain in good standing with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development for future applications, the city should relinquish the grant funds and reapply for a future grant cycle.

Rigg said if the city had moved forward with the cleanup using the state funds and then the development did not occur, the city would have to pay the grant back. The city had been awarded about $456,000 for the cleanup out of the roughly $968,000 cost.

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The apartments were slated to be built directly east of the first 48 units of the Blazing Star Apartments on the southwest part of the Blazing Star Landing.

The engineering department had received four bids for the soil cleanup, which included both excavation and disposal of contaminated soil and the import and placement of clean soil throughout the site.

The low bid was submitted by Larson Contracting for about $799,000.

With the project on hold, the council voted to reject the bids at this time.