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Developers offer three proposals for old school property

MORRIS – Developers from Morris and the Twin Cities have proposed adding assisted living, senior living, student housing and traditional housing to the old elementary school property in Morris.

On Tuesday, City Manager Blaine Hill presented a short summary of the proposals from three developers to the Morris City Council, but did not include specifics about financial offers or contingencies.

“I did not put in what they offered because these deals are not final and we do not want to disclose the amount of the deal before we actually have a deal … because they could affect the deal that you're looking at,” said Hill.

The three developers interested in the property include Bear Paw Properties Development Company out of Hutchinson, Minn., Riley Bros. Properties of Morris, Minn. and Prairieland Partners of Minnetonka, Minn.

All three developers proposed a mix of traditional housing with senior and student housing, but differed on their priorities and timelines.

Hill recommended that the Morris Economic Development Authority meet in a closed meeting to review the proposals to determine if there are any questions or issues to bring back to the developers.

“There's probably more questions that came out of these proposals and more answers that we need to get from them before we actually get down to a point where we can say this is a deal that we're interested in doing,” said Hill.

Because an EDA meeting was not on Tuesday's agenda, Hill and Mayor Sheldon Giese said the EDA would have to wait until the July 9 city council meeting for the EDA to set a meeting to discuss the proposals.

Once any deal is developed, it will have to be presented at a public meeting with public input before a final decision can be made.

Once the property is sold, all data about the original proposals and prices will become public data. All closed meetings regarding the property will be recorded and also be made publicly available at that time, City Attorney Aaron Jordan said in an e-mail.  

What are the proposals?

Bear Paw Properties Development Company -- Hutchinson, Minn.

  • Woodstone Senior Living, a 31-unit suite for persons with higher needs and memory care. Construction and long-term ownership and management of the two assisted living spaces are the companies primary interest in the site.
  • A future 50 unit assisted living property located next to Woodstone Senior Living, if future demand warrants construction.
  • A series of four-plexes designed for student living needs to be built as needed, starting with two and expanded to as many as 10.
  • Traditional housing on the remaining five acres for patio homes and twin homes. Private housing is not the company’s immediate interest and they would be willing to work on other compatible uses.

Riley Bros. Properties -- Morris, Minn.

  • Uses that appeal to the most urgent and basic needs of the community.
  • A mixture of affordable but simplified townhomes or twin homes, single-family or multi-family/multi-cultural homes and apartments.
  • The earth-friendly and energy conscientious plans developed by earlier community groups could be used to make the neighborhood special. 

Prairieland Partners -- Minnetonka, Minn.

  • 50 to 60 units of post-secondary education student housing on approximately four or five acres.
  • About 20 units of senior assisted living housing on about 2.5 or 3 acres of land.
  • As many as 24 to 30 units of affordable housing on about three or four acres of land.