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Project 3 Sisters given extension

Group now has until Sept. 30 to complete terms of agreement

By Chuck Hunt - Editor | May 23, 2021

One of the items in the development agreement which needs to be done is painting the south wall of the Three Sisters, the one with musical notes painted on it.

Both the Blue Earth City Council and the Blue Earth Economic Development Authority (EDA) voted Monday night, May 17, to grant an extension to a development agreement with Project 3 Sisters LLC.

The agreement concerned having certain improvements made to the Three Sisters buildings in downtown Blue Earth. Those improvements include painting the south wall and installing HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) equipment.

The agreement called for the improvements to be completed within 18 months of the sale of the buildings from the city and EDA to Project 3 Sisters, but had been previously extended six months to June 1.

After a report from Janie Hanson of Project 3 Sisters concerning plans for both financing the construction work and starting the work itself, another extension was granted.

Members of the EDA board, who were present at the council meeting, voted first for the extension, with one board member, Ann Hanna, voting no. Hanna stated that if there was to be an extension, then she would like to see the development agreement rewritten.

After the EDA vote, the council then also voted unanimously to grant the extension which moved the date for completion of the wall painting completed and HVAC system installed and operational to Sept. 30 of this year.

Hanson had explained before the vote that she had a project manager, Knudson Construction, in place and they were working on bids for the work.

Some of the bids had to be adjusted due to the fact that one of the businesses which will be in the Three Sisters is a brewery, so some of the plumbing needs to be changed.

Hanson also reported that the bids will include more than the HVAC installation but will also be for new roofs on all three buildings, masonry work, floor refurbishing and more. They also plan on power washing the south wall this week and then have it painted as soon as the next week.

Brewery owner Mike Lahti was present at the meeting and said he is ready to begin construction on the brewery as soon as possible. He said he will occupy much of the basement of the south and middle buildings with his brewing equipment and will serve beer in the north building.

Hanson also furnished a letter from a bank confirming a construction loan is in place for the project.

Before the motion and vote on the extension, city attorney David Frundt told the council they had three options: let the agreement expire and create a new one with new terms; proceed with an extension; or pass an amendment with changes to the original development agreement.

In other business at the meeting, the council:

• Passed a resolution to sell bonds in the amount of $6.39 million which will be used to fund street and utility projects. The actual bond sale will be on June 21 at 11 a.m.

• Agreed with a request from Public Works supervisor Jamison Holland to close three blocks during this summer’s street construction project to use for reserved parking by South Nicollet residents only while their dead end street is being worked on.

The limited parking would start after 10th Street construction is completed and the street is returned to a gravel base.

The three blocks are 10th Street between Main and Linton streets and Nicollet Street from Ninth to 10th streets.

• Passed a motion removing the requirement of wearing masks and practicing social distancing at city meetings because of the CDC and governor’s recent announcements.