City seeks proposals for 3 more council properties – Albert Lea Tribune

City Seeks Proposals for 3 More City-Owned Properties

Posted 8:31 PM Wednesday, January 11, 2023

The City of Albert Lea is seeking Requests for Proposals for the sale and development of three City-owned properties in an attempt to return the properties to the private market.

The properties include the former hobby store at 132 S. Broadway Ave., a house at 110 N. Second Ave. and a vacant lot at 722 S. Washington Ave.

The city acquired both the downtown building and the Second Avenue property last August through tax forfeiture and is making improvements to stabilize the properties before selling them to private individuals. The Washington Avenue lot has been owned by the city since 2002 when the dilapidated house on the lot was demolished.

In 2018, the city invested significant funds to stabilize the former hobby store, putting on a new roof and removing some water damaged items. Albert Lea City Manager Ian Rigg said steps were taken to protect the surrounding buildings.

He said the crews recently withdrew 15 tons of electronic waste and 3,500 fluorescent tubes from the building. They cleaned a total of nine 20-yard dumpsters of material.

Crews also had to rebuild the basement stairs that had collapsed due to water damage to get to the materials that needed to be removed.

Rigg said that although there was significant investment in the building, it was still cheaper than having to demolish it. He estimated that it could cost at least $200,000 to demolish.

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The effort is part of an ongoing project by the city to stabilize tax-forfeited properties where possible and return them to the market.

Instead of demolishing every tax-exempt structure the city gets, the city is trying to rehab buildings that are still worth saving and using the money it would have spent on demolition costs for repairs.

Rigg said one of the main points of the program is to avoid empty lots where possible. He pointed out that the private market will not otherwise intervene when the risk is too great.

Mayor Rich Murray said the program would continue to be evaluated to make sure it continues to do what it was intended to do, noting that the city doesn’t need to be in the real estate business.

During Monday’s meeting, the council it also passed a resolution authorizing the sale of surplus property found at the property at 132 S. Broadway when crews were removing hazardous and electronic waste. Property includes electronic gaming devices, toys, models, signs, and collectibles. The resolution also made reference to various equipment, tools and furniture.

The City will first attempt to sell the property through an online auction service or electronically advertise with other retail websites.

City Council declares 21 properties without public utility

The properties were three of 21 city properties the council declared to have no public purpose during Monday’s council meeting.

Other properties included the following:

  • Euclid Avenue 122
  • 206 W. Third Street
  • 322 vine ave.
  • 401 West College St.
  • 604 Giles Place
  • 728 S. Newton Ave.
  • 938 jefferson avenue
  • 1207 S. Newton Ave.
  • 1209 S. Newton Ave.
  • 1211 S. Newton Ave.
  • 1501 Source Street
  • 1505 Source Street
  • 1509 Fountain Street
  • 205 N. Seventh Ave.
  • 121 N. Seventh Ave.
  • 119 N. Seventh Ave.
  • 201 S. Broadway
  • 211 S. Broadway
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Several of the properties are vacant lots that the city is looking to return to the private market, and some are houses or buildings with development potential.

Rigg said the council last year discussed the option of dividing up certain unbuildable city lots and attaching them to neighboring properties to improve those properties free of charge. staff made new

boundaries and legal descriptions and approved the action to advance in the alienation of the properties.

Rigg said the properties have potential for development, with most having a qualified applicant with a proposal pending a development agreement to be approved by council. The rest are expected to have offers and deals made in 2023.

Later in the meeting, the council approved an agreement to develop and sell the property at 604 Giles Place. The new owner, Kevin Chapman, plans to fix it up to provide housing for veterans, Rigg said.

The work must be finished before the end of the year.

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