Alexandria’s Industrial Park expands
A new opportunity has opened for manufacturing companies to build or expand in Alexandria.
The Lakes Area Economic Development Authority (LAEDA) recently acquired 14.79 acres of land at the southern end of Minnesota Street near the Industrial Park, southwest of where ForceAmerica recently expanded.
The site, “Nevada East,” was purchased from American National Bank for $519,257 and includes 11 parcels that are zoned for industrial or light manufacturing uses.
Jason Murray, executive director of the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission (AAEDC), noted that the lots are available at a price ranging from 90 cents a square foot to $1.10. He said this is “very competitive” with other communities that are located along the Interstate 94 corridor, from St. Cloud east to the metro area.
The lots range from 0.5 acres for $23,958, to 2.62 acres for $102,714. The sites are considered “shovel ready” with complete infrastructure, including water, sewer and telecommunications.
Having more land available for drawing businesses here promises to strengthen the city’s tax base, create high paying jobs and help the local economy, said Murray.
The expansion is a goal the AAEDC has been working toward for about five years, when it became clear that the available land at the Industrial Park was getting scarce.
In 2012, the commission started a strategic planning process to find affordable property zoned for light industrial use. It met with about a hundred community members and industry leaders, Murray said.
A key goal was to make the land as affordable as possible, he added.
Early last year, the AAEDC found out that the Nevada East sites were available through American National Bank.
Last fall, a key funding source was tapped: The Alexandria City Council began the process of transferring $514,978 from the Airport Industrial Park Fund to LAEDA. The history of the fund dates back to 1994 when the city bought 60 acres of land from the Alexandria Douglas County Developers (ADCD), the first economic development organization in the community that purchased the Industrial Park land near the airport.
The city acquired the 60 acres at a reduced price and agreed to apply for grants to provide infrastructure for the lots. In 2001, the ADCD disbanded and transferred its assets to the AAEDC, which started the Airport Industrial Park Fund. Proceeds from lot sales were placed in the fund and over time, it grew to more than a half million dollars.
Murray said the goal is to sell Nevada East’s 11 lots within three years. Some preliminary work, including clearing trees and underbrush, has already been done to get the sites ready.
The manufacturing industry continues to show signs of growth, both locally and statewide, Murray said.
“It’s picking up,” he said. “The industrial and retail sectors are showing more confidence about the future.”