White has hot idea for prime propertyMyron White has a plan to dress up Red Wing Port Authority land at the city’s western gateway in the hopes of enticing developers.
By: Jon Swedien, The Republican Eagle
Myron White has a plan to dress up Red Wing Port Authority land at the city’s western gateway in the hopes of enticing developers.
The Port’s executive director suggested Monday that the board install a geothermal heating and cooling system and a parking ramp on the Port’s land at Highways 61 and 19.
White hopes the improvements would increase the land’s draw, attracting multiple companies — along with new jobs and a greater tax base for the city.
Infrastructure costs, White said, are not known.
“At this point, I hate to even guess,” he said.
The board agreed to work with state agencies to flesh out the proposal.
Last week, White met with representatives from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Department of Employment and Economic Development. He said the meeting encouraged him that grant money could be available if the Port were to pursue environmentally friendly infrastructure.
In addition to the parking ramp and heating and cooling system, White hopes a citywide fiber optic network can give the site a boost. Whether or not the city pursues a fiber network depends largely on a feasibility study currently under way.
Regardless if that pans out, White said the property is still a valuable asset to the city.
“I would still argue it’s the best piece of commercial real estate around in Red Wing today,” he said.
Since the Port bought the land, the community has been focused on the potential of the city’s western gateway. John Falconer’s proposal to buy the land and expand his winery on the site has been at the center of the city’s attention for much of the past year.
White’s suggestion represents a step in a different direction for the site.
After nearly a year of intermittent negotiations, the Port and Falconer had their most recent falling out March 25 during a Port subcommittee meeting.
A deal between the two sides seemed dead after that meeting, but Port Board member Tom Brown tried to resurrect winery talks last month with a proposal for a half-lease, half-sale of the property.
White has said Falconer hasn’t contacted the Port since that meeting.
Falconer said Monday he is in the process of finishing a new proposal he will soon present to the Port.