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May 28, 2022

10/5/2017 10:26:00 AM
Council asked to abate taxes for old firehall micro-brew pub plan

by Leilani Freeman

From potato warehouse to community center, to now, possibly a micro-brewery pub, the colorful history of one of Chisago City’s most visible buildings is about to enter a new era.

Following a brief public hearing, the Chisago City Council last week ordered a resolution  authorizing the sale of the Chisago City Community Center/fire hall, to Solstice Properties for $300,000 and granting five-years of tax abatement to the new building occupant, Lakes Brewing Company. Under provisions of the draft resolution, taxes will be abated for five years or up to $35,000. No public comments were brought forward at the hearing.

Because the city-owned property was appraised at $526,000 and sold for $300,000, City Administrator John Pechman explained that the difference is considered a business subsidy. Approval of any subsidy in excess of $150,000 requires a public hearing.

The buyers, who plan a brew pub, also requested five years of tax abatement on 95 percent of the city portion of the taxes. Pechman told the council that the Chisago County EDA has also recommended abatement of the county’s portion of the taxes. (The County Board was to consider this yesterday, Wednesday Oct. 4.

The city council ordered city staff to prepare a development agreement and resolution which must include job and wage goals. Documents provided by Lakes Brewing Company president Bradley Klatt, state that he plans to hire three employees paid not less than $25 hourly and four part-time staff, at not less than $12 an hour.

The project will require a $600,000 investment above and beyond the purchase price, Klatt explained.  Major brewery equipment purchases will include a 310-gallon, three vessel, steam-heated brewhouse, grain crushing and handling, control systems, four-to-six fermentation vessels, water filtering systems, heat exchanger, low pressure boiler system and glycol chiller. A loading dock, large walk-in cooler and grain storage room will be constructed. The entire building will be remodeled and brought up to code.

The taproom will occupy the central portion of the building with a bar, beer taps, walk-in serving cooler and a stage for musicians as well as an in-house sound system and televisions.

Phase two of the project will involve complete renovation of the community center ballroom and upgrade of the kitchen to commercial standards.    

A land survey related to sale of the community center revealed the building extends 7.5 feet into the right of way of Railroad Ave. The city attorney prepared an agreement acknowledging the encroachment and allowing it to exist. The council voted unanimously to approve the encroachment agreement.  An attachment to the community center purchase agreement states that if the existing building is demolished, a new building would need to be built at a correct position on the property, the city attorney explained.

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