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EDA extends purchase agreement for development of multi-family housing project

Community Asset Development Group (CADG) intends to construct 49-unit development.

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WORTHINGTON — A development group that signed a purchase agreement with the city of Worthington in October 2020 on a 1.79-acre parcel south of the New Grand Theater is still very much interested in developing the property.

Community Asset Development Group (CADG) had intended to begin construction on a 49-unit, multi-family housing project already, but delays due to materials pricing and availability have pushed the developer’s timeline to the spring of 2022, assuming economic conditions improve.

Since the purchase agreement with the city expired on June 30, Worthington Economic Development Director/Assistant City Administrator Jason Brisson asked the Worthington Economic Development Authority in a Tuesday meeting to approve a new purchase agreement, ensuring CADG has site control for the project.

The price of the property is unchanged, at $107,000.

“They have been in constant contact with city staff,” Brisson reported. “They have expressed their desire to continue the project in Worthington. They’re not ready to walk away from this.”

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At the same time, they don’t want to spend any more money on development without knowing they have site control.

“Given the acute market rate housing shortage, I’m asking you to execute the agreement,” Brisson said.

Mayor Mike Kuhle said it was encouraging to hear that CADG is still interested in constructing housing in the community, and noted the developers have spent a lot of time and money on the project already.

The property is already zoned for multi-family housing.

EDA members voted unanimously to approve a new purchase agreement with CADG.

In other business, the EDA:

  • Heard an update from Brisson on the Minnesota Main Street Economic Revitalization Program. Both the federal EDA and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development have funds available to help businesses make building improvements.

“The Main Street program seemed to be the one that fit the best for us,” Brisson said, adding that the state designated $80 million for economic revitalization. While the city isn’t eligible to apply for funds, it’s possible the Worthington Regional Economic Development Commission could be authorized to do so. Another alternative is to partner with the Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF), Brisson said.
“I said our interest level is high,” he told the EDA. He was also asked if the city had identified corridors on which to focus.

“The downtown would be a great area to focus on, and also Oxford Street — if we could do both,” Brisson said, adding that he wanted to hear from EDA members on their priority areas.

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Kuhle said the downtown area and Oxford Street are both good areas, and also suggested North Humiston Avenue, where three commercial buildings — the former Runnings, Shopko and Pizza Hut locations — are all sitting empty.

Other vacant Oxford Street buildings and lots were also mentioned.

Brisson said program funding can be used for physical building improvements, but not for operating costs.

  • Adopted a resolution to accept property for residential development in the Cecilee Addition. What this means is that the EDA can begin to sell lots in the Cecilee Addition to anyone interested in building a home there. There are no requirements on how soon construction must begin, and building plans do not need to be submitted, Brisson said.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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