Preliminary plat approval would allow commercial development at intersection
WILLMAR — The Willmar City Council’s approval of a preliminary plat would allow commercial development to happen at the intersection of Fifth Street and 19th Avenue Southeast.
The council Monday night approved the preliminary plat of Gesch 19th Avenue Addition, which would create two large parcels of land out of one larger parcel.
The larger parcel was bisected a few years ago when Fifth Street Southeast was constructed just east of Cash Wise Foods and the Kandi Mall. However, the parcel was still legally described on paper as one parcel, explained Bruce Peterson, city planning and development director.
Peterson said the Gesch family, of Willmar, requested that the larger parcel be split into two parcels. One parcel sits on the west side and one on the east side of Fifth Street Southeast just north of 19th Avenue Southeast.
Peterson said a party is interested in buying one of the two parcels and the family is proposing to plat that property in anticipation of commercial development. Peterson said the Planning Commission approved the preliminary plat and the plat was recommended by city staff.
A final plat will be submitted later for approval.
Council member Jim Dokken asked what sort of building could potentially be located there.
Peterson said the parcels can accommodate fairly large-size retail or retail/commercial buildings. He said the lots have some of the “best exposure’’ in the city.
“I think we’re looking at a fairly large commercial development, probably in excess of 25,000 to 30,000 square feet,’’ said Peterson.
Council member Steve Ahmann asked if the streets can accommodate increased traffic.
Peterson said the city has the good fortune of having both Fifth Street and 19th Avenue as four-lane streets that are designed to more than accommodate the predicted traffic flows that would result from commercial development.
Council member Audrey Nelsen asked about requirements for walking paths. Peterson said a path is already present and he said the city will work with developers to meet the needs of pedestrians.
In other business, the council approved the preliminary plat of Industrial Park Fourth Addition, a subdivision of 25 lots of various sizes located west of County Road 5 in the new industrial park.
The nearly 115-acre plat was approved Nov. 13 by the Planning Commission and was recommended by city staff.
Peterson said the plat “is really a nice project to work on because we’re starting with a blank slate so to speak and have our input into how we want to see it develop, making sure we provide options for different types of businesses to get in there, working on the access with (Kandiyohi County) off of County Road 5. It’s been a great cooperative effort.’’
Peterson said two of the lots are larger because there might be a market for properties that size.
“I think it’s important that we offer a variety of parcels,’’ he said. “There could be a major processor or producer that requires that acreage and we will try to steer the people with needs for smaller properties up into the northerly part of that subdivision.’’
“This is a really good deal,’’ said council member Denis Anderson with a smile. “Now all you gotta do is fill it up.’’
Ahmann asked if there have been any inquires or discussions with any Willmar business people who want to expand into the park. Also, he stressed the importance of marketing the park.
“We have had some preliminary conversations with some businesses and once we get further into the platting and the design process, the marketing will pick up because until now we haven’t had a product to market,’’ Peterson said.
Construction of infrastructure is being paid by revenue from the former half-cent local option sales tax, which was paid by Willmar and area residents.
Peterson said the city has not yet engaged the services of any real estate firm to market this property. The agreement the city has with PRO 1 Realty of Willmar is only to market properties on the east side of County Road 5.
Peterson said city staff and the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission will be responsible for marketing.
“We will work with the EDC marketing committee. They’ve got some very qualified marketing people that will be of great help,’’ said Peterson.
The new industrial park is being developed on the old airport site. Peterson said the city still has about 400 acres of old airport land west of this plat, much of which is still to be released by the Federal Aviation Administration.
“But we’re getting very near that as well,’’ he said.