Developer eyes Stock site

Unnamed charter school also has interest

Cliff Buchan
News Editor

Could a redevelopment plan be in the works for the old Stock Lumber Company property in Forest Lake?

Nothing is definite but a developer has secured a signed letter of intent to explore the purchase of the 2.9 acre site at 231 W. Broadway Ave. Lou Suski, vice president of commercial sales and leasing with the Gaughan Companies, Forest Lake, said the developer is one of two potential buyers for the property.

Suski said an unnamed charter school has also expressed interest in the property which has sat idle since 2007 when Stock closed its Forest Lake operation.

The interest by the unnamed developer marks the first serious move in selling the property in nearly two years. In February of 2010 the property was sold at auction but the negotiations on the final purchase price collapsed, leaving the property on the market.

Suski said the potential development, which he described as “very speculative” at this point, would transform the property to include a mixed use of retail/office and multiple family housing. The early planning includes the demolition of the Stock buildings and the construction of a three-story building with commercial uses on the ground floor and multiple family housing above.

“That’s conceptually what they [developers] are talking about,” Suski said. A medical/office complex is one potential use, he said.

He said the developer has a 120-day letter of intent but has not signed a purchase agreement.

Suski said the developer may also have interest in acquiring residential property to the north. The block is bordered on the east by the Hardwood Creek Trail with NW 2nd Avenue on the north and NW 3rd Street on the west side.

The Gaughan official said the developer has had conversations with city staff about the potential development.

Doug Borglund, community development director and zoning administrator, did not return a call from the newspaper seeking comment. Keith Wille, city building official, said he had heard talk of possible action on the Stock site but had no specific information.

Suski said it may require another 90 days for the developer to determine if the project would proceed.

Suski said he was not at liberty to release the names of the developer or the charter school that has shown interest in the site. Suski said the charter school use would not fall within existing zoning regulations.

Patrick Gaughan, head of Gaughan Companies, was encouraged by the potential redevelopment of the site. If done correctly, Gaughan said a move on the Stock site would address a key area of the city that could stimulate additional redevelopment projects in the downtown area.