A West Central Tribune Minute news highlights podcast for Oct. 19, 2021.







WILLMAR — A large logistics facility to be constructed in the Willmar Industrial Park is still a go, though changes have been made to the land purchase agreement between the city and Ruedebusch Development & Construction National, the project developer.

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The Willmar City Council, at its meeting Monday, made amendments to the purchase agreement and major subdivision plat. The council also approved the development agreement with RDC National, which lays out the responsibilities of each party.

RDC National will be constructing a $26 million, 217,000-square-foot logistics facility to be used for small package sorting and distribution by an end user that has yet to be named publicly. The company is the preferred developer for this end user. Companies with whom RDC National has worked in the past include FedEx, Monsanto, Phillips and Tractor Supply Company.

The approved amendment to the purchase agreement, and similar language in the development agreement, removes the city's obligation to install a traffic signal light at the intersection of Willmar Avenue Southwest and Kandiyohi County Road 5. RDC National has requested the light, but a traffic study found the light was not warranted, even with the future additional traffic coming from the logistics facility.

The city will now be responsible for completing additional traffic studies in 2024 and 2026, to see if traffic counts have increased enough for the light to be completed.

"The city's obligation is to continue studying traffic volumes," said Willmar City Attorney Robert Scot, and "if the signal is warranted, at that time (to) install the signal at the intersection."

In another change to the overall project, the total acreage to be purchased has been reduced from the previously approved sale of approximately 32 acres.

RDC National had been planning to purchase 6.3 acres of unplatted land in the Fifth Addition of the Industrial Park, adjacent to its purchase of 24.84 platted acres in the Fourth Addition.

The total acreage is located between Trott and Willmar Avenue Southwest, on the west side of Kandiyohi County Road 5. The land was part of the former Willmar Municipal Airport.

RDC National had planned to extend Willmar Avenue and Trott Avenue Southwest to the western edge of the unplatted acres, but has since decided that is no longer feasible and will not purchase the additional 6.3 acres at this time.

"This change, however, does not change the size or scope of the logistics facility," said Aaron Backman, executive director of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission.

A major subdivision that the City Council already approved, which was to merge all the individual parcels that make up both the 24.84 acres and the 6.3 acres into one lot, was amended at Monday's meeting to remove the 6.3-acre parcel. Because RDC National no longer plans to purchase the additional acres, the overall purchase price for the land has been reduced from $699,750 to $621,000.

There has been discussion, but no action taken, about RDC National asking for a first-right-of-refusal agreement with the city for those six acres, in case another buyer shows interest.

"To enable a future expansion," Backman said.

With the council approving the resolutions for the amendments and development agreement, RDC National can now move forward.

"RDC National is eager to close on the purchase of the Industrial Park land," Backman said. "So they can move ahead with the project."