Longtin says interest in parcel just north of America's Best Value Inn has suddenly increased.

    Whether it's been talk about a new hotel or any other commercial development on Crookston's north end in recent months, when the parcel immediately north of America's Best Value Inn has been mentioned, it's close proximity to the railroad tracks has always been cited as a potential concern for anyone looking to buy it.

    No matter, maybe.

    "There has all of a sudden been a lot of interest in it, I can tell you that," Ken Longtin, owner of the parcel, told the Times. "Things are getting more active in that area."

    What he can't tell the local media at this point is who might be interested in buying the parcel.

    Still, the level of interest "from a couple parties" has reached a point that Public Works Director Pat Kelly told the city Public Works Committee this week that the city would have to complete the construction of Sahlstrom Drive – which would more than likely run along the east side of the parcel, curve to the west, and then feed into University Avenue – as part of any development of the land.

    Kelly said he's consulting with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and trying to get a feel for exactly what the city would be required to do as part of a Sahlstrom Drive extension project. What he does know is that the city wouldn't be able to simply allow an "in and out" access from Sahlstrom Drive to whatever business might build on the parcel; the road would have to continue to University Ave. "It would have to be completed from North Acres to Highway 2, with a right-hand turn lane," Kelly explained.

    Given the close proximity to the railroad tracks, he said MnDOT has indicated that a crossover in the University Ave. median to the eastbound lanes will not be allowed as part of the project. "It would go around the Anytime Fitness mall, onto University and end there," Kelly said.

    The city will likely know if it needs to fast-track a project in early 2013, he added.