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County to seek survey of land

St. Croix County's Finance Committee voted Thursday to call for bids to survey land around the Government Center.

Although there has been no decision to sell, an appraiser reported last month that the county could increase the value of the 50 acres of excess land considerably by dividing the property to market 23 acres for commercial development and the other 27 acres for residential development.

The consultant's main points were that the county should first have the land surveyed and then apply to the city of Hudson to have the area designated for commercial development and rezoned appropriately, summarized Finance Committee acting chairman Stan Krueger.

The county has also received three letters relative to the property since the appraiser's report was made public. These include:

  • A request from the city of Hudson and the Hudson Area Joint Library Board asking to buy about six acres in the southeast quadrant for a new library and fire hall. The letter estimates the value of that parcel at about $600,000.
  • A letter from Lon Feia of BLF Properties LLC tentatively offering $6.6 million for the full 50 acres.

    According to Feia, BLF is just completing work on Carmichael Centre, a $6 million "high-end mix of retail and commercial office space" between Target and Culver's. He said he envisions "a similar class of design for the commercial lots" in the commercial part of the county-owned land.

  • A request from a homeowner on adjacent property who would like to buy a 100-by-300-foot section of land to use "as a buffer and natural green space" between his house and any other buildings.

    "The county's not going to be a developer," said Krueger in reply to all three letters. He said the committee will keep the letters but hasn't the authority to do anything with the land at this point.

    Administrative Coordinator Chuck Whiting said that, along with proceeding with a survey, another logical step is to figure the property tax benefits of private ownership of the land.

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