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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Council eyes private partnership for housing development

10-acre parcel available on north end of Miners Lake

Keith Vandervort
Posted 4/28/21

ELY – The city council here is moving forward with a potential private-public partnership to develop a housing project on Miners Lake. Council members liked what they heard last week from a …

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Council eyes private partnership for housing development

10-acre parcel available on north end of Miners Lake

Posted

ELY – The city council here is moving forward with a potential private-public partnership to develop a housing project on Miners Lake. Council members liked what they heard last week from a pair of developers who said they are exploring the possibility of building a clustered mix of single-family homes, townhouses, loft and villa dwellings on a 10-acre parcel along the northeast shore of the lake.
The council formed a subcommittee involving two of its members, the city attorney and the clerk-treasurer to discuss a development agreement with the developers that could be presented and possibly approved next month.
Ely native Karl Forsman, and William Stoddard, of Excelsior, have been working with a local realtor to locate suitable properties for their project, Langowski said.
“The area that best suits their needs is on Magie Drive, directly across Pioneer Drive from the Sandy Point boat landing on Shagawa Lake, and just east of the Trezona Hills development,” he said.
Stoddard has developed numerous housing projects in Prior Lake, Excelsior and Shorewood.
“We’re here hoping you will enter into a pre-developers agreement with us as we do our due diligence and explore the possibility of this project,” he said. “We want to look at what kind of dwellings makes the most sense for this beautiful location.”
They are proposing a Homeowners Association arrangement “to control exterior grounds maintenance and unruly storage” on the parcel.
A development concept summary calls for the developers to obtain clear titles to the city-owned land, obtain entitlements and approvals, along with developing the land with streets and utilities, and to construct new homes. They hope to obtain grants and funding from local governing bodies including the city of Ely and the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board.
“The proposed workforce and market rate homes should appeal to buyers ranging from singles and young couples to empty nesters with an overall huge local economic boost from the construction trades and increased homeowner tax base increases from this vacant land,” Stoddard said.
He added, “We believe adding a limited amount of attached house and one-and two-story detached homes will provide buyers options and price ranges. In addition, property values in the neighborhood should stabilize and trend nicely with our proposed new housing options which also gets rid of uncertainty of developments that could come forward if our concept is not approved.”
The developers could not provide the exact number of new homes, but proposed three dwellings per acre would be an approximate overall density on the 10-acre site they would like to develop. One or two main driveway entrances off Pioneer Road would be part of the development cluster.
Interim Mayor Chuck Novak was receptive to the housing development proposal.
“We do have a need, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “We just acquired the land in question. Development there would be good.”
Council member Paul Kess said he welcomes a private-public partnership to develop housing in Ely.
“There is very little to buy or rent in Ely right now. The prospect of new modern housing in a great location is kind of exciting,” he said.
Langowski proposed the subcommittee would work to develop timelines for the development.
“We could have an agreement to propose at your first meeting in May.”

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