Rice Companies, a Sauk Rapids-based developer, is eyeing an undeveloped 22-acre space in Otsego’s main commercial corridor for a two-phase retail, office and high-density residential development project.
Located on the southwest corner of CSAH 39 and CSAH 42, roughly across the street from Super Target, the proposed development would occur in two phases, beginning with the most northerly sites. The development’s main anchor is a 45,000-60,000 square-foot Coborn’s grocery store. A car wash, fuel canopy, pharmacy, and coffee shop would accompany the store. Phase one also includes two pad sites, one 3,000 square-foot build-to-suit space and 15,000 square feet of retail or service lease space. The developer’s goal is to have phase one’s doors open for business by the third quarter of 2020.
Phase two of the project would fill in the southerly portion of the site with market-rate apartment housing and retail, commercial and office sites. The developer hopes to solidify commitments on phase two projects after receiving all city and county approval and plans to begin work on phase two no later than 2021, with substantial completion by 2023.
Rice Companies has requested that the city of Otsego and Wright County build two public roadways to make the project possible, at a cost of approximately $1.16 million. The developers said they believe this project fits the city of Otsego’s definition of a high priority project and initiative, based on the city’s economic strategies and priorities policy.
“When taking into account the job creation, tax generation, and the creation of several highly marketable, shovel ready development sites, we feel that this is plainly identifiable as a High Priority Project and Initiative,” the developer said in a memo to the city of Otsego. “Phase 1 and 2 of this project fulfill five out of six identifiers outlined for ‘High Priority Project and Initiative’ designation. We feel that our city and county participation requests are very reasonable and they will fill the small gap we’ve identified due to the unique site acquisition needs and timeline.”
Rice Companies said the new Coborn’s store alone would create 35 full time jobs with an average pay of over $23 per hour and 80 part-time jobs, in addition to exempt employee positions such as the store’s general manager and pharmacists.
The proposed project received all necessary approvals from Otsego’s planning commission on July 15, and the proposal will be on the city council’s July 22nd agenda. Mayor Jessica Stockamp said she was “very excited” about the proposal.