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Back to square 1 for the 3 Sisters

BlueProp LLC rescinds their proposal for purchase, development

September 17, 2017
Chuck Hunt - Register Editor , Faribault County Register

It's back to square one as far as the Three Sisters buildings in downtown Blue Earth goes.

The Blue Earth Economic Development Authority (EDA) learned the bad news at their meeting on Thursday morning last week.

"Blue Prop LLC and owner Zac Huntley have decided to rescind his proposal for developing the Three Sisters," Faribault County Development Corporation (FCDC) director Tim Clawson told the EDA members. "The numbers just did not work."

Article Photos

They are back up for adoption. The Three Sisters buildings in downtown Blue Earth, pictured on the left side of the photo above, are back on the market. A proposal to rehab all three buildings, both main floor and apartments upstairs, was rescinded last week by BlueProp LLC. The Blue Earth EDA is now discussing what the next step is for the Three Sisters, buildings owned by the city of Blue Earth.

Huntley and his BlueProp LLC company had been given 90 days, until the end of September to have control over the property and time to get the cost figures together for a total rehab of the downstairs business areas and upstairs apartments in all three buildings.

"His plan was for extensive redevelopment upstairs and that may have been too much financially," Blue Earth city administrator Tim Ibisch said. "He had a great plan if it could have worked out. And I believe he may be acquiring a different property."

Members of the EDA asked what the options would be now for the city owned buildings. One of those options was suggested to be to send out requests for proposals again.

"We did have another interested party," Clawson said. "But they were mainly interested in just the building on the corner. But we will check with them again."

Ibisch said it may come down to the city developing the site into business buildings.

"I think we would just do the main floor business areas, and then rent them out or sell them," he said. "The apartments are the spendy area, and there already are buildings downtown with unused apartments upstairs."

Mayor Rick Scholtes suggested that if the city is going to do any remodeling, they should perhaps wait and remodel it to suit an interested renter.

"I think it would make sense to build it to suit a particular business," he said. "And not just something that may not work for everyone."

He added that he was glad that Huntley found out now that his plan would not work now, instead of 16 months from now.

"He was very thorough (with his investigation)," EDA board member Kara Drake said. "It will be helpful for to get that information."

Huntley included all of the background information in his document telling of his intention to rescind his proposal.

In other business, the EDA spent some time discussing the recent announcement of Walmart closing its Blue Earth store shortly and what actions the EDA could be taking with it.

Clawson informed the board members that Walmart does not own the building and that two separate companies own the land and the building.

"We are reaching out to these owners to see what they have planned," Clawson said. "And we are working with the state for trying to help find employment for the employees to see if they can be absorbed into the community."

Ibisch also added the city is looking at other options for the building, and said there is no non-compete clause attached to the store site.

Other topics under discussion at the EDA meeting included:

Talking with the Blue Earth Area School District about resurrecting a building trades class that would build one new house every year.

EDA member John Huisman explained how this had worked in the past and thought it might be a good way to get some houses built around town.

Discussed developing a new Business Succession Loan/Grant program.

The program would provide funding to help with younger people buying businesses from those owners wishing to retire.

One option discussed was paying off student loans if the person agreed to come to Blue Earth and work into buying a business.

Voted to reduce the top cap amount for an exterior grant application to $4,000.

Discussed various local and state issues and programs with State Rep. Bob Gunther.



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