Weather Forecast


Panel OKs $1.2 million TIF for waterfront project

An early artist's sketch of the project, which will be modified prior to construction.

The Detroit Lakes Development Authority is moving forward, welcoming developer Drew Olson to town, by granting a tax increment financing district at the corner of Washington Avenue and West Lake Drive.

After he came back this month with a revised plan, the commission granted the request for over $1 million in TIF and a development agreement with Olson, who is with MoDev of Scottsdale, Ariz.

The development will be called The Waterfront and will consist of both retail space and condominiums.

Olson said The Waterfront will feature 12,000 square feet of commercial space along with 27 for-sale luxury homes.

"Superb community features include secured underground parking, a second story outdoor living area, a boat club, a marina, and a shared Great Room," he said. "The Great Room will feature an elegant dining area, wine room, business center, world-class fitness room, and theater room. This secured area will be accessible by all homeowners."

Residential homes will start at an estimated $179,000. Commercial space will be for sale or rent.

The original proposal had included 20,000 square feet for commercial and included a convention center. After the idea failed to be welcomed by the majority of the DLDA, Olson revamped his original plan and offered more condos and less commercial space. He said it now is a 55,000-square-foot overall project.

"The project could support a TIF up to $1.181 million," Community Development Director Larry Remmen said Tuesday.

DLDA members agreed and approved the development agreement -- which expressed 12 points, including that the developer may build up to 27 units with the approval of the Detroit Lakes City Council; that the project must exceed $8 million, not including land acquisition; that there will be at least 10,000 square feet of retail space (with the number of stores in that space depending on demand) and that the developer pre-lease or sell at least 50 percent of the overall space to start the construction.

The selling portion doesn't seem to be an issue for Olson. He said after a recent story ran in the media about his project, he had several phone conversations with people expressing interest in seven condos, even though he can't technically sell them yet.

As for retail space, the 10,000 square feet is "flexible space," Olson said. "We'll see what comes our way."

DLDA member Mary Beth Gilsdorf said because of the location of the property, a big box retail store obviously won't be destined for the space.

From here, the Detroit Lakes Planning Commission will view the plans at the July 23 meeting; a public hearing regarding the TIF will be held; and ultimately, the city council could approve the project at its September meeting. Remmen said he is under the impression Olson plans to start the project as soon as possible.

City Administrator Bob Louiseau said the corner that will be developed is a predominant site and will set precedent for the remainder of West Lake Drive.