5/11/2017 4:27:00 PM North Branch Outlet Mall rebounding under new ownership
The message that the North Branch HRA/EDA heard last week was the new owner of the North Branch Outlet Mall is “...very serious about reviving the center and is not closing it or tearing it down."
Cushman & Wakefield North Marq spokesperson Deb Carlson also said there’s a contract pending with a retailer, interested in occupying the 12,000 square foot store vacated when Family Pathways built a thrift store on the freeway side of the mall. The mall also renewed seven leases last week, “So it is still doing well enough to see them renew,” Carlson stressed.
Top priority now is deferred maintenance, that worsened during the transition from a Stanley K. Tanger outlet mall property, to its current status. Carlson said signage, paint, tired landscaping, parking lot striping and surface, can all be addressed now.
The mall went into bankruptcy and a sheriff sale was held November 2016.
LNR purchased the site and, as of approximately one month ago, ownership is uncontested with the six month redemption period having concluded.
“We are not the largest (outlet mall) in Minnesota but we are getting the (marketing) message out-- ‘don’t forget about us,” said Carlson. North Branch HRA/EDA is made up of Bob Streater, Dennis Odin Johnson, Douglas Fischer, Lorraine Moeller and Chuck Sinn.
In other matters the HRA/EDA members voted unanimously to proceed on direct mailers to identified potential developers/firms interested in the North Branch business park. Interstate Business Park is the largest “shovel ready” site in the state.
A billboard lease near where 400th abuts the freeway was approved. The billboard company does pay property tax.
The “Cherokee Place” housing plat was discussed with the issue being whether a public meeting is necessary or not. There has been one neighborhood meeting. City Planning and Development Director Carla Vita asked if the city should wait for news of a financial grant award or if the meeting should immediately proceed regardless.
Consensus was to have staff send e mail updates to those residents who have provided e mail addresses, which will go out from Vita around the same time the city submits the MN Housing & Finance Agency grant application in June.
There are two signed purchase agreements for project parcels in Interstate Business Park, Vita reported. The Flashing By Design (council story May 4) and the Lakes Region EMS lot purchases are being finalized.
City Administrator Renae Fry told the meeting attendees North Branch could get hit with a financial liability as soon as next year, if it falls under a state law requiring government entities to pay property tax on older city-owned parcels. The staff is collecting dates of when properties were acquired to see if the cut-off on non-taxable length of ownership is met.