St. Luke’s exploring new project
While it is still just preliminary, St. Luke’s Lutheran Care Center in Blue Earth is making some plans for changes at the facility.
St. Luke’s administrator Margaret Brandt was at last Thursday’s Blue Earth Economic Development Authority (EDA) meeting to explain what the plan would be.
“We are looking at converting some space into 15 more senior living apartments,” Brandt explained. “It is just in the early stages of planning at this time.”
The area under consideration for the new apartments is the wing to the south as one enters the main front door to St. Luke’s, Brandt explained.
Currently that hallway, which connects to Southview Estates, the senior living building, is occupied by administration and other staff members as offices. However, those offices once had been residents rooms in the past.
“We have other space we can move our offices to,” Brandt said. “And this would be a good place for the apartments, since it connects to Southview.”
The proposal calls for two former resident rooms (now offices) be converted into one apartment, with a living room area, bedroom and one of the bathrooms converted to a kitchen area.
EDA board members endorsed the plan, and said it seemed like good idea.”It should not take too much work to convert the rooms into apartments,” city administrator Tim Ibisch commented. “I can see how that could work.”
Brandt said a very preliminary estimate of the cost of the conversion was $1.2 million.
EDA board member and City Council member John Huisman said he felt the EDA could help with the project and maybe could help find ways to bring those costs down.
“I think you should stay in touch with Tim (Ibisch) and Mary (Kennedy, EDA administrator) and work with them,” Huisman, who had asked Brandt to attend the meeting to tell about the proposal, said. “And we can see how we can help.”
All the board members agreed that this was a good project to help with.
“This is such a nice facility,” Ibisch said. “It makes sense to do what we can to help out.”
In other business at the EDA meeting, the board named Frundt, Lundquist and Gustafson as their Spotlight Business of the Month.
David Frundt, one of the three owners of the law firm, was present to receive the certificate of appreciation and to tell about the business.
Frundt is the fourth generation of his family to be a partner in the firm. His great-grandfather helped start the law firm in 1907, so it is actually 111 years old.
“We officially changed the name of the firm to Frundt, Lundquist and Gustafson just this past Aug. 1,” Frundt said. The other two partners now are Daniel Lundquist and Ryan Gustafson. They have a staff of nine and operate offices in several towns.
“Our biggest concern right now is finding another attorney,” Frundt said. “It has been a challenge to find an attorney who would be the right fit. There is a need all over not just southern Minnesota, but the whole out-state for attorneys right now.”
In other business at last Thursday morning’s meeting, the EDA board:
Looked over a proposed lease between the EDA and the Chamber of Commerce for the new Welcome Center/Giant building.
It would be for 20 years with a balloon at the end.
“The Chamber would buy the building at the end of 20 years, so it is basically a lease to own,” Ibisch said.
Voted to approve a new contract with CEDA for 2019 that calls for Mary Kennedy to work for the EDA on a four day per week schedule instead of three. The contact amount will increase from the current $68,180 to $72,255.
They also learned the Faribault County EDA is also going to go with a four day per week contract, and that the new CEDA person for the county has been hired.
Looked over a proposal from Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership that would have SMHP build two homes in the new Blue Earth housing development.
If the houses do not sell within six months then the city’s Housing Redevelopment Authority would need to purchase the houses and sell them.
EDA members called it an exciting proposal. There are similar projects already in place in Worthington, which EDA members have toured.
“Population gain is the key to economic development,” administrator Ibisch said. “So we are doing some more background information gathering on the proposal.
Looked over a new realtor agreement for the sale of lots in the Golden Spike Business Park.
The agreement calls for a flat fee to be paid to the real estate agents, and not a percentage of the price.
Ibisch noted that the price of the lots will probably be lowered to $50,000 each, or about $10,000 per acre.