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Kmart demolition moves forward

The former Worthington Kmart building in the Northland Mall complex, shown Monday, has been in continually deteriorating condition for years. Ryan McGaughey/Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON — The Worthington City Council approved the recommendation to the Nobles County District Court for the demolition of the former Kmart building during its Monday night meeting.

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“The city attorney has filed with the courts, and we do have a court date set for June 26,” said Brad Chapulis, the city’s director of community and economic development.

On May 29, Wenzel Engineering submitted its final structural report on the former Kmart building, which was conducted pursuant to an order from the Nobles County District Court in late October 2013. The report was an assessment as to whether to repair or demolish the structure.

City councilman Scott Nelson asked Monday if the city would cover the demolition cost and then assess it against the property in the event is ever sold.

“Under the advisement of the city attorney, it was indicated that even with the hearing on the 26th, it is more than likely that the courts will give the owner a period of time — lasting 14 days — to formally respond to the order,” Chapulis said. “After that 14 days, anything that we (city) acquire would be eligible for an assessment.”

A copy of the Wenzel report stated that the cost to renovate the building to a functional retail space again would be $3.47 million. Demolition, meanwhile, is estimated at $253,000. The city council unanimously approved the demolition recommendation.

In another matter, the city council approved a resolution authorizing the Worthington Housing and Redevelopment (HRA) to issue housing redevelopment revenue bonds and adopt a multi-family housing program. The council originally approved the plan in May 2013, but the project has expanded since.

At the time of consideration, the project, known as Rising Sun Estates, consisted of a 36-unit rental townhome development with an estimated project cost of $3.8 million — $2.7 million of which was to be bonded. The project has since grown into a 48-unit development, with a new project cost estimated at $6.5 million as well as an anticipated $3.9 million bond issuance. Bonds for the project would not be a general obligation of the HRA or the city, and would be payable from the revenues derived from the housing program and its implementation.

The Rising Sun Estates project is located at the southeast intersection of Nobles County 35 and Nobles County 5 in Worthington. The estates will contain 16 two-bedroom units and 32 three-bedroom units. Initial cost to renters will approximately be $850 for the two-bedroom units and $950 for the three-bedroom units.

In other business:

  • Johnson Builders & Realtors (JBR) sought the issuance of a special use permit for property it owns on the south side of Homewood Avenue. The council approved the special permit, which allows JBR to construct a three-unit townhouse structure.

Each unit will be approximately 1,920 square feet, which includes the two-stall attached garage. The structure will be one story tall, 40 feet deep and 144 feet wide.

  • The council approved improvements and additions to be made stretching from Grand Avenue, about 200 feet north of Oxford Street, to Darling Drive.

The extension will involve an additional 520 feet and affect three additional property owners. The improvement standards would require installation of sidewalks on each side of the street from Oxford Street and ending at Darling Drive.

“We anticipate to bond for this project — city shares, special levies and special assessments will pay for this bond,” said Dwayne Haffield, the city’s director of engineering.

  • Interim Worthington Police Chief Kevin Flynn and Community Services Officer Myra Onnen were in attendance to ask the council to call for a hearing regarding a property located at 617 Omaha Ave. A public hearing was set for 7 p.m. June 27 on the matter of abating a health and safety nuisance at the residence. 

An April 14 fire damaged property on the residence, owned by Israel Verastegui. At the time of the fire, the city was pursuing action against Verastegui for failure to abate in a timely manner for the nuisance violation at the same property.

A notice of violation was served to Verastegui on May 13, which required him to present Onnen with a plan for abatement of the nuisance on the property within 14 days. To date, Verastegui has neither abated the nuisance nor supplied a plan to do so.

Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.

Erin Trester
Erin Trester is the crime and city reporter for the Daily Globe. She's a native of Lewiston, MN, but moved to Buffalo, NY to attend college and obtained her bachelor's degree in Communications. She started at the Western New York Catholic Newspaper as a reporter in Buffalo, but in October 2013 she returned to her home state to start with the Daily Globe. Most of her spare time is taken up by her 13-year-old thoroughbred named Faith, but some of her other hobbies include reading, fishing and spending time with friends and family. 
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