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Land sale for major logistics project in Willmar moves to City Council

The Willmar Planning Commission is recommending the Willmar City Council approve the sale of more than 30 acres of land in the Willmar Industrial Park. Developer RDC National Inc. will be constructing a $25 million logistics facility for an end user that has yet to be named publicly.

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The Willmar Planning Commission recommended approval of a land sale to a developer. RDC National LLC is hoping to purchase over 32 acres of land in the Willmar Industrial Park to build a $25 million logistics facility. The end user for the facility has not yet been named. Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune

Editor's Note: Story corrected to put in accurate square footage of the proposed logistics facility.

WILLMAR — The possible construction of a massive development project in the Willmar Industrial Park moved closer to fruition on Wednesday, with the Willmar Planning Commission recommending the city sell more than 30 acres of land to RDC National Inc.

RDC National is working on behalf of an end user — not yet identified publicly — to construct an over $25 million logistics facility in the Industrial Park's Fourth Addition, located between Willmar Avenue and Trott Avenue Southwest on the west side of Kandiyohi County Road 5.

"We are excited about the opportunity to have a major logistics project here," said Aaron Backman, executive director of the Kandiyohi County and city of Willmar Economic Development Commission . The EDC has been working with RDC National for nearly five months.

The proposed project would include the construction of a 217,000-square-foot building plus parking for 56 long trailers and 389 vehicles. There could also be a future maintenance structure of around 9,000 to 10,000 square feet built on the site. The operation would run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Backman said.

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"This is a sizable project," Backman said.

The developer wants to buy 32.87 acres in the park for $699,750, or approximately $25,000 per acre. The company will also be reimbursing the city for reinstallation of street lights that will need to be moved and the relocation of a water line. In total, RDC National would by paying the city $850,750.

There has been no tax abatement or tax increment financing request from the development company. The land is currently tax-exempt because it is city-owned, meaning it will quickly go back on the tax rolls after the land sale is completed.

RDC National is also asking for the city to vacate 32nd Street, which currently runs through the land the company is hoping to purchase. Backman said based on conversations he has had with council members, the council is amenable to the street vacation.

"This particular road only runs for a couple of blocks. The only people who use it currently are city employees," Backman said.

Another piece of the project, which will be the city's responsibility, is the installation of a traffic light at the intersection of Willmar Avenue Southwest and Kandiyohi County Road 5. There are already large businesses located on or near that intersection, specifically Jennie-O Turkey Store and Magnum Trucking. The addition of hundreds of other vehicles coming and going from the logistics company could make traffic movements dicey without a light.

"Based on the traffic, that makes sense," Backman said.

The purchase agreement between the city and RDC National is still being ironed out, but should be completed shortly.

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"We've gone through seven revisions," Backman said.

RDC National , which is based in Madison, Wisconsin, is the preferred developer for the end user, Backman said. According to the company's website, they have built projects for FedEx and Monsanto.

Backman said RDC National is looking forward to moving forward with construction. The building structure will take about a year, plus all the automation work that will take place inside.

"They are excited about this. They would like to get started as soon as possible," Backman said.

The land sale approval will now go to the Willmar City Council. A public hearing will need to be held prior to granting permission.

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The 32 acres involved in the possible land sale are located between Willmar and Trott Avenues Southwest, on the west side of Kandiyohi County Road. Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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