Drive-thru Caribou coming to 42 and Newton

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A drive-thru-only Caribou Coffee, a new concept, has been approved for County Road 42 and Newton Avenue in Burnsville.

Burnsville has long tried to sell the site 

A new-look Caribou Coffee is coming to a piece of city-owned property that Burnsville has tried for years to sell.

The drive-thru-only business is planned for the corner of County Road 42 and Newton Avenue, west of County Road 5. The City Council, acting as the Economic Development Authority, voted June 4 to sell the 2-acre parcel for $65,000 to Interstate Development Corp., which approached the city in January.

Drive-thru-only without indoor seating is a new concept for Caribou, said Skip Nienhaus, Burnsville economic development coordinator.

“There will be a limited number of these built this year in the Twin Cities,” he said. “We will have one of the first of the new concept.”

The elongated property slopes steeply downhill, and an underground pipeline easement and overhead power line easement add to its development challenges.

“There’s been a (For Sale) sign on this property for about 12 years,” Nienhaus said.

A couple of development proposals went nowhere, he said. In 2011, a developer, citing the high cost of site preparation, sought a number of incentives, including a $1 purchase price, waiver of city fees and assessments and 10 years of city tax abatement. The proposal was for a “green” car wash.

The city declined.

A fresh appraisal was done after Interstate Development Corp. inquired about the land. The appraisal puts the cost of site preparation at $320,000 and the value of the land if “pad-ready” at $385,000, according to a city staff report.

That leaves an “as is” value of $65,000, the report said.

The 550-square-foot building will have limited parking space for employees only and plenty of queuing space off of Newton Avenue, Nienhaus said. There will be no access from County Road 42.

“Staff feels this project utilizes an extremely hard-to-develop parcel with a unique and new concept, while adding the parcel back to the tax base,” the staff report said.

The developer might add outdoor patio seating and a sidewalk on Newton Avenue connecting to a planned bike and pedestrian trail along 42, the report said.

A contract between the city and buyer calls for construction on the site to begin no later than January 2020 and be finished by December 2020. Nienhaus said he expects a much quicker schedule.

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