He hopes demolition is finished around the time the city council considers his TIF district request.

    As he anticipates his request for the establishment of a 20-year Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district for his redevelopment project at his Fournet Building in downtown Crookston, which developer Jeff Evers said should go before the Crookston City Council in a couple months or so, he says he continues with demolition efforts inside the historic building he purchased three years ago.


    Evers tells the Times he hopes to have demolition work finished on the second and third floors by the end of March; but, he adds, that will depend a lot on the weather. “There’s no heat (in the building) and with the tractor I’m using we will need a lot of windows open for ventilation,” Evers explained.


    The anticipated timeline for completion of demolition not coincidentally coincides with the expected timeline for council consideration of the TIF district, Evers adds. He has said his entire project and financing package, which already includes financing approved by the City of Crookston and CHEDA, depends on the establishment of the TIF district.


    “My schedule allows time to verify that the TIF goes through,” Evers said.


    If everything goes as planned, as part of the first phase of what Evers hopes is a multi-phase project, Tri-Valley Opportunity Council would move its headquarters across the street from its current home and become Evers’ primary tenant, on the second floor. Future phases, if things fall into place, would be targeted at the third floor and first/main floor, which was home to Four Seasons Clothing for many years before Jim and Lois Chandler retired and closed the business. Evers said he remains open to just about anything that could potentially occupy the first floor; he has previously mentioned some kind of restaurant or a suite of offices.


    Evers recently purchased from the City the vacant parcel immediately to the west of the Fournet Building, next to the Crookston Masonic Lodge, so he could eventually park a trailer during the redevelopment project and also minimize the amount of debris being hauled out the east side/front of the Fournet. The transaction generated a heated response from Masonic Lodge Master Lester Wilkens, who told the council, Mayor Wayne Melbye and City Administrator Shannon Stassen a few weeks ago that the lodge was interested in buying the property, too, but wasn’t given a fair shot at doing so.


    Asked about his purchase of the lot and Wilkens’ reaction, Evers noted that the City had owned the lot for a long time and had made it known a few years back that it was interested in selling it. “I’ve learned in real estate that once I buy something I might hear about all the others who wanted to buy it,” he said. “When I bought the old Glenmore (the former Sisters of St. Joseph Marywood Residence just east of Crookston on U.S. Highway 2), I started hearing of all the people who were wanting to buy it, but it was for sale for more than a year.”


    Wilkens said in voicing his displeasure with the sale of the lot to Evers that the Masonic Lodge was interested in holding things like family-friendly events in the space. Evers told the Times that if the Masons “ever need the lot for an event I’m very open to discussing letting them use it for free.”