Anoka buys manufacturing building that will likely be redeveloped

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The city of Anoka is the new owner of a recently shuttered manufacturing building on a transit-oriented site that holds promise for future redevelopment.

The city paid $9 million for the 175,650-square-foot building at 2939 Sixth Ave., according to a certificate of real estate value made public this week. Lakeland Tool & Engineering of North Branch is the seller. Finance & Commerce reached out to Lakeland Tool for comment.

Built in 1954, the building occupies an 8.27-acre site at the southwest corner of Grant Street and Sixth Avenue and overlooks a station on the Northstar commuter rail line.

Doug Borglund, Anoka’s community development director, said the property is in the middle of Anoka’s transit-oriented development district. The city plans to update a master plan for the area this fall.

“There’s been a lot of redevelopment in that area occurring recently,” Borglund said. “We have a master plan for that area. We will be updating that plan going into the fall. But the reason for the acquisition is related to potential redevelopment of the area.”

Borglund said it will be up to the City Council to decide what will become of the existing building and the property in general.

A marketing brochure notes that the building offers 16-foot to 22-foot clear heights in the warehouse, 13 dock doors, a drive-in door/platform dock, heavy power, 272 parking stalls.

Dan Friedner and Tim Prinsen of Newmark marketed the property. Friedner said there was some investor interest. But in the end, it made sense for the city to step in because of the property’s redevelopment potential, he said.

“It was all good and positive,” Friedner said, adding that the sale closed on Thursday last week.

The station area is surrounded by “key community assets,” including the city’s historic downtown, and the Anoka County Government Center, which is “a major jobs anchor for downtown with over 1,000 employees,” according to the Anoka Station Area Plan.

Completed in 2012, the plan outlines a development and redevelopment vision for a 130-acre area framed by the Rum River to the west, County Road 7/Seventh Avenue to the east, Highway 10 to the south and the Anoka County Rum River Human Services Center to the north.

The plan envisioned roughly 800 to 900 new housing units and 350,000 square feet of commercial, office, industrial and flex space in the next 20 years

Lakeland Tool and Engineering is the largest industrial parcel along Grant Street. As of 2012, the plan notes, the Lakeland Tool building — also known as the Miller Manufacturing Building — was expected to remain at its current location “well into the future because of the high cost of relocation.”

“Discussions with the property owner in 2009 indicated the costs of relocation for the company would be in excess of $22 million, making relocation for this business very difficult,” the plan notes.

The state notified the city earlier this year that the facility would be closing, Borglund said. Lakeland Tool & Engineering closed the facility in April with no plans for relocation. Soil borings at the site did not indicate a need for any significant environmental remediation, Borglund said.

Other recent station area developments include Volunteers of America’s Homestead at Anoka, a senior living campus at the northwest corner of Grant Street and Fifth Avenue. The campus includes a mix of independent living, skilled nursing and memory care units.

The third phase of the campus — an 80-unit senior affordable project — is under construction and a fourth phase is planned.

Also new in the station area is a 56-unit senior townhome project along the Rum River near Fourth Avenue and Grant Street. David Weekley Homes broke ground on that project in 2020, as previously reported.

Borglund said the Lakeland Tool site holds potential for a mix of uses.

“We’ve seen a lot of investment from David Weekley Homes to Volunteers of America and Kwik Trip. There’s been a lot of residential and some commercial. We think there’s opportunity for some sort of mix there to be determined,” he said.

RELATED: 80 affordable senior apartments coming to Anoka

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