Larson Motor Service in Little Falls is moving its marine store from the city to a site off Highway 10, just south of Little Falls.
Jim Weiss, co-owner of Larson Motor Service, said Tuesday the store will feature new boat lines, including Tracker and Tahoe. Larson already offers boat sales, storage, winterizing, service, shrink-wrapping and delivery at its location on Highway 10.
Weiss, who owns Larson Motor Service with Peggy and Tom Monahan and Jerry Thomes, asked the Little Falls City Council on Monday to annex the 17 acres of land along Highway 10 so they could be approved for a loan through the Community Development Intermediary Relending Program. This funding is only available to city businesses, said Little Falls City Administrator Rich Carlson.
Weiss said the primary reason to annex the land into the city is for the loan. However, he said the loan also would be used to promote the location on Highway 10 and their new products.
The city council accepted the petition to annex the land and directed staff to verify the signatures and to meet with Little Falls Township about the annexation.
Weiss said the former Larson Motor Service property along First Street Northeast next to the Mississippi River is still for sale. He said the purchase agreement with Sand Cos. of Waite Park was canceled.
Sand Cos. planned to buy the Larson property and create an upscale housing community for senior citizens. The company asked the city council to approve the site as a tax-increment financing district to help clean up the property.
In February, a city council motion failed by a 4-4 vote to create a TIF district. The council members who voted against the motion were opposed to the duration of the TIF district and the TIF amount.
The company came back to the city council March 7 to ask council members to reconsider their vote, but no action was taken. On March 28, the company made revisions to its housing proposal to address the TIF concerns, but the council took no action.
"It was a bad move by the city," Weiss said of the city council not approving the TIF district. "The project would have increased the city's tax base by about $9 (million) to $12 million.
"I was very disappointed."
Weiss said he has a few potential buyers for the property. He said the property will be vacated in the next few months regardless of whether it sells.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5851.
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