Port hashes out 2009 work planWhen it comes to land sales, the Red Wing Port Authority might want to hold onto its trump card, Commissioner Tom Brown said.
By: Jon Swedien, The Republican Eagle
When it comes to land sales, the Red Wing Port Authority might want to hold onto its trump card, Commissioner Tom Brown said.
At the economic development agency's annual retreat Friday, Brown suggested waiting to sell the corner lot at Highways 61 and 19 during a conversation about how to best market and develop the Port's property there.
By selling less valuable parcels first, the Port could make the sale of the corner parcel — the most valuable lot — even more lucrative, he said.
"It's quite a common strategy by land developers," Brown said after the meeting. He likened it to a residential developer waiting to sell a cul-de-sac lot until the rest of the street is developed.
The Port continues to market the roughly 30 acres at Red Wing's western gateway, in the hopes the flat and highly visible land will attract businesses that would bring new jobs to the region and increase the local tax base.
The agency bought the property with $1.2 million it loaned from the city of Red Wing. Because that debt will begin to garner interest — and mandatory payments will be due in future years — Port commissioners feel some additional pressure to make a sale to begin paying that debt off.
"You guys have a huge debt and the city is not in a position to forgive it," City Council Administrator Kay Kuhlmann said during Friday's meeting.
The city is trimming its budget in anticipation of state aid cuts.
Port board members also discussed drafting certain development requirements for the property.
Also, Port Director Myron White said making infrastructure improvements to the property, which he suggested last year, isn't feasible in this tough economy.
The Port took no official action at Friday's retreat, but did layout a general work plan for the year.