October 25, 2007 at 7:39 a.m.
Topline is an auto parts distribution company. The tilt-up concrete panel building with 22,464 square feet will be constructed by MilCon which is a locally based design-build development firm. Josh Kopp of MilCon commented that Topline will bring a high quality development and a well-respected company to North Branch. The building is expected to be complete in the spring of 2008. Initially, Topline expects to employ 17. The JOBZ Agreement with the City will result in a total workforce of at least 22.
Chris Eng, Chisago County Economic Development Director said a portion of the Topline site is located on land recently purchased in a cooperative agreement between the City and the County. A new industrial firm in North Branch is of benefit to the entire County.
A Preliminary Development Agreement is under review that will give MilCon "first rights" an additional site for development of a 10,000 to 30,000 square foot building. Tom Willett, North Branch Economic Development Director, said this gives MilCon an incentive to plan, design, and market the site for the City. He noted that while the City has the land ready for development and may be able to help industrial prospects with financial incentives; the City is not in the business of constructing buildings. Thus, this agreement with MilCon will be an important step in developing the ESSBY Business Park.
The park currently has approximately 20 acres ready for development. Lot sizes range from just less than two acres to almost five acres. When completed, the Park will have over 300 acres of industrial and commercial development.
Topline will join Viking Coke Distribution and St. Croix Stone that are located on the north part of what has become ESSBY Park according to Bridgitte Konrad, North Branch City Administrator. She stated the City is also working with Prairie Partners on a proposed 100 acre housing project adjacent to the ESSBY Business Park.