A Holiday Inn Express and Suites will no longer come to Oak Park Heights.

With the approval of the consent agenda, the Oak Park Heights city council voted to terminate a purchase and sale agreement with Madison Hospitality Group at the Tuesday, July 23 meeting.

In fall 2017, Oak Park Heights agreed to sell the land located on Memorial Avenue North, just south of Highway 36 between Stillwater Motors and Century Power Equipment and Sports, with the understanding that Madison Hospitality Group develop the parcel as a hotel.

City administrator Eric Johnson said the city terminated the sale agreement because Madison Hospitality Group decided not to construct a Holiday Inn.

“Their models, as we understand it, simply did not work. So, they decided not to move forward with the hotel,” Johnson said.

Kirk Schultz, Madison Hospitality Group Vice President and Oak Park Heights resident, said the company decided to forego developing the property as a result of permit delays, increased construction costs and tariffs on hotel furniture that comes from China. 

"I really wanted to make this thing work," Schultz said. "We just couldn't pull it off."

The council also decided to table a decision on listing the 1.45 acre “Bell Property,” located at 5416 Stagecoach Trail, with Telus Property Services. The Bell Property is located north of the Stillwater Area School District’s bus terminal, which the district will vacate at the end of August.

Council member Chuck Dougherty suggested looking into listing the property with the bus terminal’s realtor, Applegate Property Management, so the two properties might be joined in the future.

The council unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with the city of Stillwater to swap property.

Local non-profit Canvas Health requested to join two parcels of land currently in Oak Park Heights with the rest of its property in Stillwater in order to redevelop the area south of Orleans Street between Panama and Ozark Avenues.

Oak Park Heights asked Stillwater to swap that property for a segment of roadway on Lookout Trail North off of Highway 95, parcels currently under the jurisdiction of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT). The parcels being swapped are tax-exempt.

City Administrator Eric Johnson said securing the land will make it easier for the MNDOT to move forward with any projects.

Additionally, Oak Park Heights will host a community celebration 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 15 at Autumn Hills Park to celebrate 60 years since becoming a city. Autumn Hills Park is located at 5697 Norwich Parkway, Oak Park Heights.

Contact Kim Schneider at kim.schneider@ecm-inc.com

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