SUBSCRIBE NOW
As low as $1 for 3 months
SUBSCRIBE NOW
As low as $1 for 3 months

Still some talk on two Crookston development projects

Mike Christopherson
Crookston Times

    They were the hot topic at a sometimes-heated discussion at a Crookston City Council meeting last September, two proposed development projects involving apartment complexes also featuring multi-use/commercial opportunities on the main floor.

    One, located on the former Crookston American Legion property and a couple of City-owned lots next door, had its developer and partners, Dakota Commercial, Community Contractors and JLG Architects, investing around $7 million in a multi-use apartment complex with underground parking and a relocated downtown square. The other project, put forth by APG Development of West Fargo, led by Crookston native Elliot Steinbrink, involved first one apartment building and then another on North Broadway south of Casey’s General Store, with multi-use opportunities in one of the buildings and parking garages for both.

    At that often-tense meeting in September, Steinbrink contended that APG’s project had been put on the back-burner so CHEDA and its executive director, Craig Hoiseth, could instead pursue the downtown development project. When asked by council members and Mayor Dale Stainbrook if his investors might still be interested in making the North Broadway project a reality, Steinbrink said it was possible and that he’d circle back with them.

    As for the project downtown, detractors voiced concerns about a loss of parking spots downtown as a result of losing the two City-owned parking lots, and they also questioned the wisdom of relocating downtown square and the City being responsible for costs related to that component of the project, around $1 million. Several people at the podium in the council chambers also wondered if adding new commercial space downtown was a good strategy when there are empty downtown storefront spaces to be filled.

    So that’s where it was left. Steinbrink was going to check with APG’s investors and get back to the council. Craig Tweten, project manager for the Dakota Commercial project downtown, was going to see if the tweaks suggested at the council meeting that night were doable. Mostly at that time, it appeared that relocating downtown square would likely end up not being part of the final project, and that it might be modified so that fewer parking spots were lost.

    It was said at the time, and the Times reported, that further clarity would come at the council’s Oct. 12 meeting, and that on that night or at some point later in the fall, one proposed development project could potentially emerge, while the other one might drift into the background. Hoiseth had said during the discussion that the Crookston market-rate rental housing market would be able to absorb the addition of units made a reality by one development, but that adding two such developments would likely saturate the market.

Then…crickets

    There was no discussion on Oct. 12. It wasn’t on the council agenda because, the Times was told, not enough new information had been gathered by then.

    There’s been no public discussion on either project since. The Times reached out to Steinbrink this week but he had not responded as of press time Wednesday. The Times also contacted Tweten, who said his team is waiting for the right time to present to the council again.

    “We haven’t had much feedback from the City other than Craig Hoiseth,” Tweten, who is out of the country, said via email. “Craig thought that this coming year we’d try again to present. We can only move forward when City of Crookston administration is ready to move forward. We need total teamwork from all sides of administration and council before moving forward. We want all projects to be successful and (to have) a winning team.”

    Since last September, Hoiseth said there has been correspondence with leaders of both potential projects, but no talks have progressed to the point that there would be more council-level discussions. Hoiseth said City Administrator Amy Finch has also been brought up to speed on the projects since she started in October.

    “Amy and I have been engaged with both APG and Community Contractors over the past couple of months, but there’s nothing transactional to report, at least not yet,” Hoiseth continued. “But perhaps in the coming months.”