The free press
A majority of respondents in the region oppose Mankato City Council accepting a tax grant application for a luxury apartment / distillery / bar project in downtown Mankato, according to an online question by Free Press.
Out of a total of 275 respondents, 234 voters – over 85% – did not argue that Mankato potentially gives grants to the proposed $ 13.3 million redevelopment project. Only 41 voters supported the idea.
Developer Jon Kietzer told Mankato City Council last week that he plans to begin construction on the project, located at the corner of 2e and Main Streets, in the second half of February if the city council approves the plan to fund them. tax increases on February 14. .
The plan is to gut the three-story structure, built in 1919 as a Dodge car dealership, add a fourth story, and build a four-story addition on the northwest side. A total of 33 high-end apartments are planned for the upper floors, renting between $ 1,600 and $ 3,100 per month, with the distillery, lounge bar and event center on the first floor.
The building is to be connected by a new skyway to the City Center Hotel, also partly owned by Kietzer, which is due to undergo a major renovation from April or May.
For the project to be financially viable and move forward, funding through tax increases is needed, according to Kietzer.
A financial advisor hired by the city came to the same conclusion.
The TIF funding would not provide any direct payment from the city to the developer, but would return a portion of the additional property taxes generated by the project to Kietzer and its partners to help cover project expenses.
Under the proposed grant, the property owner would continue to pay their current property taxes of approximately $ 20,000 to the city, county and school district. But the additional property taxes generated as a result of the building’s expansion and renovation – $ 79,000 in additional annual taxes on the higher-value structure – would flow back to owners for 15 years to help cover the costs of eligible redevelopment of the project. These include interior demolition, asbestos removal, modernization of utilities, soil remediation and land acquisition.
The cumulative amount returned to Kietzer and its partners between 2024 and 2039 would be $ 1.15 million. After the 15 years, all property taxes generated by the Landmark Building would revert to the city, county and school district.
While the redevelopment does not create new affordable housing for low-income workers, a top priority for the council, it would increase the tax base, create around 13 jobs, transform an aging building, and meet council goals of bringing residents and other downtown vitality.
The Free Press online question, sent on Friday, asked, “Do you support the town of Mankato subsidizing $ 13.3 million luxury apartment redevelopment project, distillery and bar?” ?
There were two options to answer, “yes” or “no”.
Commentators criticized the grant proposal, in large part because of the project’s goal of providing luxury apartments rather than affordable housing or housing for the workforce.
Greg Hall wrote: “Public money should help people who need it. I would like to see more housing for middle income people.
“This is just a stupid idea,” wrote Marshel Rossow. “” Subsidize “and” luxury “do not belong to the same sentence. “
“Why should we help the rich get richer?” Rick Pyzick wrote. “Anytime someone wants to build a big complex that will bring them millions, the city has to give them a hand. I don’t care if it’s supposed to help our economy, it will only help developers make more money.
Kenneth Wilmes wrote: “According to the Mankato Free Press article, Mankato town consultancy firm Baker Tilly (found) that the difference in profit percentage for project owners would be the difference between a 6.9% profit or 6.14% profit or less than 1 percent. Maybe the project shouldn’t be built then.
“The words luxury and subsidy in one sentence strike me in such bad taste, even as a ‘middle class’ family living check for check,” Wheeler wrote. “In my mind, I am educated and I understand the importance of business and development in our region. However, even discussing it at a time when so many people are suffering and while dealing with the pandemic seems deaf to me. “
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