Former Blaine gas station 9021 University Av. NE., Blaine
Type: Redevelopment Year built: 1961 Lot size: 0.35 acres Buyer: Blaine Economic Development Authority
The city of Blaine has purchased a tax-forfeited, blighted former gas station north of the Kmart store along University Avenue NE.
The property is part of a future 16.8-acre redevelopment zone that includes the 41-year-old Kmart. The city's economic development authority previously purchased properties on the north and east sides of the store, whose lot curves around University Avenue's intersection with 89th Avenue NE.
The shuttered gas station, built in 1961, is next to a 1.4-acre site that once housed the dcMusic USA store, which the city bought from its former owners in 2008 for $1.3 million and subsequently demolished.
On the other end of the Kmart is the site of a former Frank's Nursery and Crafts operation, which Blaine obtained for $1.2 million in 2005 and is now also vacant.
This time around, the price was much lower -- because of its tax-forfeit status, the city's Economic Development Authority was able to obtain the onetime Gas Plus station from Anoka County for $30,000.
A vacant lot behind the station had also been previously purchased, for $67,000. The city says it will now remove the gas tanks and demolish the station and its canopy.
Blaine Planning and Community Development Director Bryan Schafer said no specific redevelopment plans have been considered since the Kmart itself remains open and operating on a lease that extends for another three to five years.
Its owner is listed in county records as First Berkshire Properties of University Park, Fla.
"If in the future the property becomes available for redevelopment, we'd be looking at that," he said.
Don Jacobson is a St. Paul-based freelance writer. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.