DATE: September 20, 2022
For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Rachel Leonard
(763) 295-2711 | Rachel.Leonard@ci.monticello.mn.us
Private Developer Closes on Block 52 Purchase, Hosts Celebratory Groundbreaking in Downtown Monticello
Monticello, MN – We had two exciting milestones for Downtown Monticello this week: on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022 Block 52 Holdings, LLC., Buchholz Exchange, LLC., and Norgren Exchange, LLC., closed on the purchase of a portion of Monticello’s Block 52. Shortly thereafter, a crowd gathered for a groundbreaking event on the project, referred to as Block 52 First Addition. The project will be a mixed-use development that will start construction this fall. The commercial and residential project is being developed by Buchholz Development (also known as Block 52 Holdings, LLC.). The project will feature 87 new residential units and over 30,000 square feet of commercial space, including a new restaurant and patio.
Block 52 is the city block at the northwest corner of the Broadway and Pine Street (TH25) intersection. It’s located in the heart of downtown and one of the most visible spots in the city, with over 37,000 vehicles traveling through the intersection each day.
A Brief History of Block 52
The groundbreaking and land purchase marks a monumental turning point in the project, one that was overseen by dozens of staff members, city council and EDA members over the past two decades.
The EDA first acquired property from willing sellers on Block 52 in 1996. A single parcel was purchased with the hope that land assembly would continue and allow for a meaningful redevelopment proposal. There was a long period of waiting for willing sellers after that purchase. In late 2017, two property owners expressed an interest in selling to the EDA. After negotiating and reaching an agreement, the EDA purchased 103 Pine and 112 West River in early 2018. Those purchases were followed by the acquisition of three properties, 101, 107 and 121 West Broadway, in late 2020. The final property within Block 52 First Addition, 113 West Broadway, was acquired by the EDA in late 2021. This purchase gave the EDA and City site control of contiguous land area totaling 83 percent of the block. The time from initial to final purchase was about 25 years.
Following the purchase of the two properties in 2018, the EDA was optimistic that a meaningful redevelopment could occur in the block and started to discuss concepts with numerous developers. That process occurred over 6 months in early 2019. Then COVID brought much of the world, including development, to a halt for 15 months. Finally, the efforts regained significant momentum upon the EDA and Deephaven Development (Buchholz Development), entering into a preliminary development agreement in June 2021. From that moment forward, all parties worked together to bring forward a dynamic, catalytic development proposal that will have an impact in revitalizing the core downtown of Monticello.
Upcoming Projects in the Downtown
Downtown is the birthplace of our city and the focus of civic activity. The City of Monticello’s Downtown Small Area Plan was adopted in 2017 and builds off those foundational qualities with a clear vision for the future of the core blocks Downtown. The groundbreaking on Block 52 is a significant step toward the signature development called for in the Downtown Small Area Plan.
In addition to the private development happening on Block 52, the City of Monticello is continuing its effort to improve Downtown for visitors, businesses, and residents by revitalizing both new and existing spaces. The Downtown Roadway and Pedestrian Improvements project is scheduled to begin next summer. This project will include improvements to Walnut Street between Broadway and River Street, River Street between Walnut Street and Pine Street and Broadway, between Pine Street and Walnut Street. It will also include connecting Walnut Street to River Street, roadway, sidewalk, and utility improvements, as well as improved signage, lighting, and landscaping. The improvements will make a more inviting and safe environment for everyone who uses the area.
We’d like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication the EDA and City Council have put into the Block 52 project and our Downtown Small Area Plan over the years. Their vision and commitment to the project coupled with staff’s effort to execute the process has allowed an idea to come to life. Downtown Monticello, both past and present, will continue to be a distinct space bringing people together as a community.