Aquatics industry entrepreneur Jim Wise is expanding his presence in Apple Valley, building 20 new small business offices behind his Wise Swim School and down the street from his Elsmore Aquatic swim shop and Bluewater Aquatic Center.

The buildout of the 20 furnished offices near the intersection of County Road 42 and Johnny Cake Ridge Road is nearly complete. The facilities will have direct connection to fiber and share two conference rooms with high-speed teleconferencing capability as well as a receptionist/office manager. The offices are geared to small businesses and start-ups, including home-based businesses.

The office development comes about a year after Wise launched plans for the Bluewater Aquatic Center, the area's first privately owned pool for competitive swimming training. The project involved rehabbing a 1980s-era warehouse to install an eight-lane pool, bleachers and lockers. Wise received a $149,000 economic development grant from the city for the $3 million project. The facility opened last fall.

Wise's swimming businesses are part of a cluster of fitness-oriented operations at the busy commercial intersection. Others in the immediate area include TAGS Gymnastics, Lifetime Fitness and South Metro Jazzercise.

Rosemount housing plan back

A single-family housing development on a large piece of land in Rosemount that fell into foreclosure appears to be getting a new life.

The city's Planning Commission recently recommended the City Council approve plans by Lennar Corp. for 158 single-family homes on a 160-acre site on the northeast corner of Bacardi Avenue and Bonaire Path.

Lennar has proposed developing the subdivision, to be called Bella Vista, in five phases of 28, 44, 40, 20 and 26 lots.

The property had been owned by real estate businessman Adam LaFavre, who had his house on 20 acres of the site on the northwest shore of Horseshoe Lake. The rest of the site is farmland.

LaFavre's house and its 20-acre lot has been purchased by a private buyer. Other property was taken over by a group of lenders, including Klein Bank, the lead bank. Lennar has been negotiating the purchase of the remaining land from Klein Bank.

Lennar isn't the first homebuilder to attempt to pitch housing development on the site. About two years ago, Pulte Homes proposed but later withdrew a plan for Marshes of Bloomfield, a 182-lot subdivision on the bank-owned site and an adjacent privately owned land parcel.

Homebuilders stay busy

Homebuilding throughout much of Dakota County continues at a brisk pace, according to the latest figures from the Builders' Association of the Twin Cities.

Lakeville remained the hottest market for the county as well as the metro area, with 149 residential permits through the end of May, an increase from 84 permits for the same period last year.

Other busy markets for the five-month period included Farmington with 47 permits, Eagan with 44, Rosemount with 33, and Apple Valley with 24.

Burnsville reported flat residential building activity — its two permits were the same as last year. Hastings reported eight permits through the end of May vs. 11 for the same period in 2012.

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