Asbestos requires extra steps, costs to bring total to $104,901

by Jim Boyle

Editor

Members of the Elk River Housing and Redevelopment Authority were given an update on the effort to redevelop the corner of Main Street and Gates Avenue at their Jan. 4 meeting.

Since the HRA’s last meeting, Veit Company has completed demolition work on parts of the 1.73-plus acre site that the HRA and city are marketing for a mixed-use redevelopment opportunity.

Contact has also been made with the owner of the home at 425 Third St., which has touched off some phone tag, according to Colleen Eddy, an economic development specialist with the city. The HRA has acquired seven properties in the subject area and hopes to acquire this property, but officials have said it’s not needed to proceed with a project.

Veit, a Rogers firm, demolished five homes for the HRA, including one in the 300 block of Gates Avenue and four homes in the 400 block of Main Street as well as two accessory structures.

The HRA had agreed to pay no more than $102,000 for the demo work, but two change orders necessitated by the finding of asbestos added another $2,901 to the bill.

Two houses were moved off their foundations by Otting House Movers of Lakeville, and a garage that had been moved off its foundation was expected to have been gone by the end of the night on Jan. 4, Eddy reported.

In one of the homes that was moved, asbestos waterproofing was found in the walls at the home formerly located at 419 Third St. A staging area had to be established so material could be separated and hauled to a specific landfill, according to city documents. The additional expenses were not in the original proposal. The houses being moved were not part of the initial testing for asbestos. The existence of asbestos was confirmed by Techtron Engineering in Anoka during the demolition of the basement structure.

To comply with the city’s storm water requirements, Super T’s Lawn Service, of Elk River, was engaged to removed leaves, sticks, construction debris and to grade the property so it is ready to be seeded in the spring. The hope was to get property hydro seeded but snow came before it could be done.

The snow also delayed a sign being erected to further market the site to developers. Eddy said this will go up in the next week or so, provided the weather holds out.

“Snow plowing comes first,” she said.

The redevelopment project has been in the works for more than three years. At the HRA’s April 3, 2017, meeting, the authority directed staff to move forward with the steps necessary to create a redevelopment plan for the property located at the intersection of Main Street, Gates Avenue and Third Street.

As part of this project, the HRA or the city is incurring certain costs related to the creation of a TIF district, which may be financed on a temporary basis from available HRA funds.

The HRA proposes to reimburse itself for the administrative costs incurred prior to the establishment of the TIF district, subject to the limitations of the TIF Act, and certain costs incurred in connection with a study of blighted conditions, engineering, land and building acquisition, demolition and site preparation in an aggregate amount not to exceed $1,300,000 as amended on April 6, 2020.

To create a redevelopment TIF district per Minnesota Statutes, Section 46. 174, the city and the HRA had to determine before the demolition or removal of any substandard building that certain conditions existed: “The total coverage of the proposed TIF District have parcels consisting of 70 percent of the area of the district are occupied by buildings, streets, utilities, paved or gravel parking lots, or other similar structures, and more than 50 percent of the buildings, not including outbuildings, are structurally substandard to a degree requiring substantial renovation or clearance.”

On Oct. 7, 2019, the HRA and the City Council adopted resolutions designating 326 Gates Ave., 414, 426 and 430 Main St. as structurally substandard prior to being demolished or removed in anticipation of creating a redevelopment or renewal and renovation tax increment financing district based on the TIF Analysis Findings dated Sept. 6, 2019.

The HRA engaged LHB Inc. to conduct an inspection on two additional properties acquired by the HRA to determine if the proposed district meets the requirements.

On June 1, 2020, LHB found 406 Main St. to be structurally substandard.

The HRA has three years from the approval of the resolution to certify the TIF district. Activity must occur before or within five years after certification of the district.

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