Anatomy of the Agreement: Bringing Business to Eyota – Submit a Manual

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Anatomy of the Agreement: Bringing Business to Eyota - Submit a Manual

“At any given time, the land purchase could fall through,” said Eyota Mayor Tony Nelson. “Menards could have changed its mind with the economy. But everything fell into place, and in May, they start digging.”

Jim Starr, senior associate at ReMax Advantage Plus in Eagan, said Menards approached his company looking for land zoned for industrial use. Starr, who represents clients who own two parcels west of Highway 42, said the company initially looked into buying his client’s land before purchasing land next to theirs.

The land — both the land of his clients and the land purchased by Menards — has several advantages to it, such as proximity to four major highways, including Interstate 90, Highway 42, U.S. Highway 52 and U.S. Highway 14. There is also a rail line running adjacent to the property, and Eyota’s proximity to Rochester makes it desirable for commercial developers.

Still, that didn’t leave Starr or his clients out of the deal overall.

Story Highlights

  • The project, which brings with it 20 jobs, is the result of more than a year’s worth of work on behalf of the city, state, agreeable landowners, and a business looking to expand production during a tough economy.

  • The city first got wind of a possible deal when Menards, which operates a nail-manufacturing plant in Chester Township a few miles west of the city, decided it wanted to expand and modernize its operation, and it needed a new building to do the job.

The first step, Starr said, was for all the land being looked at to be rezoned from agricultural to commercial.

With the city’s economic development authority involved, Starr said, that meant putting the process of making the deal happen into the hands of Eyota’s EDA director, Cathy Enerson.

“Cathy is a master puzzle-solver,” Starr said. To make the land work, Starr said, a turn lane and “stub road,” along with utilities, needed to be brought to the farm field.

Menards’ site selector, Nicholas Brenner, contacted the EDA looking for land. Having employees who worked at the existing plant in nearby Chester Township made Eyota a good pick for the new plant, but there was much to be done. “We have a development map,” Enerson said. “The city didn’t have any land, but we knew what was for sale.”

Cathy Enerson Enerson said she worked with potential land sellers and Menards to find the right piece of real estate. But she also saw an opportunity to prime the city for future commercial development along the west side of Highway 42. Part of the process of making the land useful for Menards would also make it easier to sell the neighboring properties in the future.

Menards also needed sewer and water infrastructure brought under Highway 14 and to the property. Both of those needs required some serious investment.

Initially, Enerson said, the company wanted both right-turn and left-turn lanes to the property, but after a traffic analysis from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, it was determined that a right-turn lane for trucks traveling south on Highway 14 toward the plant would be sufficient. One requirement for Menards was to install a turn lane for trucks coming to the plant to alleviate potential traffic problems.