A mixed-use development proposed for a site adjacent to Rogers Middle School that hinges on TIF (tax increment financing) assistance from the city was discussed July 28 by the Rogers City Council.
Asguard Acquisitions, LLC is proposing to redevelop four properties on the southeast corner of Rogers Drive and 141st Avenue North (County Road 144) to include a new 9,625-square-foot Broadway Pizza restaurant, a 9,100-square-foot convenience store/gas station, and a new 77-unit apartment building with retail on the first floor and a wellness facility that will be open to the public.
The 11.6-acre site now includes a restaurant and insurance business and two residential properties. The developer has already purchased and is operating the restaurant, which will be kept open until the new building is constructed on the north end of the property.
The developer in February was granted an exception from the city’s moratorium. The temporary ordinance halted new or changing land use, zoning and related development activities on commercial and mixed-use properties adjacent to Interstate 94 and Highway 101 through April 30.
“City planning staff worked with the developer on several iterations of the site plan to improve the overall site amenities, including enhanced green space and trail connections through the site, and connecting the apartment building and restaurant to 141st Avenue/County Road 144…” said a memo to the council from Jason Ziemer, Rogers Community Development coordinator and city planner.
Ziemer noted that any redevelopment of the properties depends on full access from Rogers Drive, due to limited access on 141st Avenue/County Road 144. “Redevelopment of all four properties together is the best approach versus attempting to redevelop the lots independent of each other and trying to work out access challenges through the site,” Ziemer’s memo said.
The developer originally requested $3.355 million in TIF financing for 26 years, but the city’s financial advisor advised reducing the amount to $2.35 million for 15 years.
“The project does demonstrate a need for assistance, but 15 years ought to be sufficient,” said Jason Aarsvold, a financial advisor from Ehlers.
Tax increment financing is a statutory tool to promote economic development, redevelopment, and housing in areas where it otherwise would not have occurred. TIF enables a city to “capture” additional property taxes generated by new development or redevelopment to pay for development expenses.
“This is a good addition to that part of town,” Mayor Rick Ihli said. “It will help us develop property around there. There’s a driving range across the street. I do like the project; I like the plan. It’s a mix of everything, including a little retail.”
Putting the four properties together, Councilor Darren Jakel said, “enables us to get the highest and best use there. It looks like this would fit the ticket. It’s nice to see a current business owner part of redevelopment.”
Mike Mergens, representing the proponent, said Aasguard has purchase offers or agreements on all four of the parcels. “The amount to assemble that land is significant,” Mergens said. “We’re all very familiar with Rogers. It’s very important to us for this to be a Class A development. We really need to acquire the entire block. We are removing two blighted properties. We have been able to succeed where three prior attempts have failed.”
Trails within the site will “be open to the public,” Mergens said.
In other action last week, the council:
• Approved a development agreement, petition and waiver agreement between the city of Rogers and DR Horton for the Birchwood residential development on the east side of Brockton Lane, south of Harmony Avenue. The site includes two properties with a combined area of 21 acres: one 4-acre site with an existing single-family home, and one 17-acre parcel that is a farm field.
The development will include 62 residential lots and a private park with amenity center.
• Awarded a contract for $254,292 to Douglas-Kerr Underground, LLC and authorized construction services of $25,450 to be performed by WSB for the Brockton Lane intersection project. The bidder was the lowest of six bids.