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Corner lot generating plenty of interest

By Staff | Jun 21, 2009

Before the property was totally cleared, four parties expressed interest in the corner lot at Fifth and Main streets in Blue Earth.

Now that the dust has settled, two groups seem to be the frontrunners.

“It’s a wonderful quandary to have. I don’t think it’s something too many other communities are facing,” says City Administrator Kathy Bailey.

The new owners of Southern Jack’s Bar & Grill — formerly Parrott Bay — took over operations on June 16 and already expansion is being discussed.

Southern Jack’s manager John Borchert says “a lot of possibilities” are being discussed for uses of the vacant lot.


“We’ve talked about a spot for a patio and maybe putting in a horseshoe pit,” Borchert says. “It’s options we’re looking at. Right now they are just in the works.”

Having an outdoor area that’s enclosed would help address concerns of nearby residents.

When Parrott Bay Tavern’s liquor license was up for renewal earlier this year, the City Council took into consideration complaints of fights, loud noise and garbage outside the building before making a decision.

In April, councilmembers approved a license for Parrott Bay.

The business was then sold a few weeks later, so the new owners from Owatonna were put through the licensing process.

Josh Giles will help Borchert run the bar, which he says will offer a full menu.

He says they are planning to serve buffets on Sundays and special occasions such as Mother’s and Father’s Days.

This isn’t the first time someone has talked about building on the lot.The Blue Earth Theater Foundation — a non-profit corporation — has asked the city’s Economic Development Authority to put them at the top of its list for a movie theater/cultural arts center they’re proposing at the site.

John McDonald, a member of the theater foundation, says if a theater is built, it’s important it be located on Main Street.

McDonald says the non-profit group wants the EDA to sell it the property for $1 and give three years to raise funds to build the facility.

“I understand there are other lots on Main Street. We’re willing to work with the EDA on those lots, but this is the site we prefer,” McDonald says.

Bailey says she doesn’t know how far along the theater group is with their plans, so it’s hard for city officials to make any commitment.

For now, all proposals are welcomed and will be considered.

“We’ll seriously look at your requests and others interested in that property,” EDA board chairman Dennis Zitnak told Borchert and McDonald.

Mayor Rob Hammond says “balancing of a lot of facts” will need to be done before a decision is made.

Two EDA members will study the issue and make a recommendation to the full board and then the council.

“If the new owners of Southern Jack’s come up with a plan that solves the noise issue, I think we’d have to take a look at that,” says Bailey.