Little Canada moving forward with land purchase

Barring any unforeseen issues with upcoming results of soil testing, the city of Little Canada will soon complete a purchase of property at 53 Owasso Boulevard which had previously been home to Donovan Construction.

The property in question is 2.85 acres and sits immediately south of two acres the city purchased in 2010. The property became available, according to Joel Hanson, Little Canada's city administrator, when Donovan combined operations in another location.

"I would think the sale will close in the next couple of weeks," Hanson explained.

The area would be zoned light industrial, meaning any re-development would focus on an office building or warehouse.

Hanson, as well as Mayor Bill Blesener said, the area is a prime spot for potential re-development and the purchase's tab, $3.29 a square-foot for a grand total of $408,500, was a fair price.

Hanson said the Donovan property is something the city has been keeping an eye on for some time.

"We'd identified that area for potential re-development a few years ago," Hanson added.

Initially, the two acre 2010 purchase was made with designs for a new public works garage, something city officials have been keen on for many years in an effort to begin storing all city equipment indoors.

However, Hanson and Blesener think it's likely a public works garage would have to be built some place else in the city because any potential incoming business would likely require the use of both pieces of land.

According to the city, the land also boasts a cell tower lease that will cost the city $250,000 up front. However, it's expected the city will easily earn that amount and more back by selling the lease later to another party or by keeping the revenue stream.

Blesener noted he's pleased at the likely purchase because it will spur re-development without asking residents for money.

"There will be no tax consequences," he said. "We have money in the bank."

The city will be using money raised through bond sales during the past several years as well as money already banked.

As for the future public works garage having to move some place else, Blesener said he's confident staff will find a solution.

Additionally, the mayor said the area would require significant infrastructure improvements, which the city would have had to make if they built a garage there. Now though, the business that purchases the land will have to make those improvements.

"Someone will come in there who needs a good new office building or a warehouse," Blesener said.

For Blesener, re-development is exciting because it's really the only way for Little Canada to grow.

"We're 97, 98 percent developed," he said. "So re-development is our life blood."

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