Open to Business, a program that provides free technical assistance and financing to start-ups, provided advisory services to 176 Dakota County businesses and arranged almost $280,000 in loans and grants in 2013.

Overseen by the nonprofit Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD), Open to Business became available to young Dakota County businesses for the first time last year. The program, offered in Hennepin County for several years and in Carver County since 2012, is expanding to Scott County this year.

Businesses receiving loans included JR Wood Quality Finishing and Hilltop Family Chiropractic Clinic in Eagan, Skyhawk Companies in Burnsville, Extreme Sandbox in Hastings and KMR Design Group, a Minneapolis business owned by Lakeville resident Kristin Radford.

Other businesses receiving advisory services included restaurants, fitness studios, a pet-grooming business and a Web design firm. The program's technical assistance services include business plan development, loan packaging, financial management, real estate analysis, marketing assistance, strategic planning and business regulation research.

Bank building sold

An Apple Valley office building whose main tenant is Anchor Bank recently changed hands, with the original owner selling it to a private investor from Eau Claire, Wis.

The purchase price for 14665 Galaxie Av. W. was $6.2 million, according to documents filed with the Minnesota Department of Revenue. The seller was Valley Real Estate of Wayzata. The most recent value of the building and land was $4.8 million, according to Dakota County property records.

The bank has a branch on the ground floor and offices on the third floor of the three-story building. The Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce recently noted that the top is undergoing a renovation expected to cost more than $250,000.

Anchor Bank, based in St. Paul, has 15 locations, including in Burnsville, Eagan, Farmington, Lakeville and West St. Paul.

Lakeville, Eagan building permits

Lakeville recently reported that it issued building permits with a total value of $12.3 million for January, a significant gain from $7.4 million for the same month in 2013.

The vast majority of building activity continues to come from residential construction. The city issued permits for 32 single-family homes valued at $10.9 million in January. Lakeville's permit total was the highest in the metro area based on figures recently released by the Builders Association of the Twin Cities. In January last year the city recorded 22 single-family permits valued at $6.9 million.

Lakeville issued commercial and industrial permits valued at $632,000 in January, up from $202,750 for the same month a year ago.

Meanwhile, Eagan reported declines in the value of both home and residential building permits in January compared with the same month in 2013. The city recorded three single-family permits valued at $1.2 million this year vs. 10 permits valued at $3.8 million in January a year ago. The valuation of commercial/industrial permits was $4.6 million in January this year, down from $5.4 million for the same months in 2013.