By Joshua Schuetz
Lanesboro, Minnesota – A former United Methodist Church building in the heart of Lanesboro is getting a new lease on life as it transforms into a new residential complex. Located just a stone’s throw away from downtown, the building will house nine market-rate housing units that are set to open their doors to the public later this year.
The project came about as a result of the city’s participation in the Minnesota Housing Partnership and was the brainchild of Lanesboro EDA Chair Phil Dybing and CEDA team member Cathy Enerson.
The city applied for a $100,000 grant through the MNHP but was denied. Nevertheless, Enerson and the EDA moved forward with the development, working with a local developer to get the job done.
“When we were denied the funds, the developer already had his loan approved, so we were looking at how to get through these obstacles,” Enerson said. “We worked with Dairyland Power and MiEnergy, and they were willing to lend $75,000 toward this project, and we put $50,000 through our revolving loan fund.”
Each unit will feature modern amenities, and the development will offer gated, off-street parking to residents. Enerson said the location is ideal for workforce housing, as it is within walking distance of the city’s park, a childcare center and is adjacent to the school.
“This is a town of 750 people, so nine apartments are impactful, especially since we are a tourism community, and it is often more lucrative to create short-term rentals by the month,” Enerson said. “It’s a perfect location because of its proximity to local amenities and businesses.”
The project has been warmly received by the community, which has expressed excitement about the new development. Enerson said the developer already has a waiting list, and they are on track to open the apartments to tenants this summer. With demand for housing on the rise in Lanesboro and the surrounding areas, the new development is sure to be a welcome addition to the community.
Participating in the Minnesota Housing Partnership provides additional benefits, such as identifying land that is proposed for in-fill development within the city, adjacent to the golf course, to construct ten new single-family homes. Furthermore, a SE MN developer has purchased 180 acres of land for the development of single-family homes, most of which has been annexed into the city, increasing its size by 17%. The developer who purchased the land has also received a tax abatement. The next priority for Lanesboro’s housing development is to address the need for additional senior housing.