The demise of one of Minnesota's biggest homebuilders has created an opportunity for residents of a large multi-unit development in Savage.

The Ridgewood Condominium Association recently paid $40,000 for the only undeveloped parcel in the subdivision, which has more than 250 units in 26 buildings. Rottlund Homes, which began developing Ridgewood in 2000, had planned to put 12 more townhouse units on the vacant site but shut down last year after more than 40 years in business.

"It was a once-in-a-lifetime price," said Eric Miller, president of the homeowners' association. The Ridgewood parcel, about one-third of an acre, was listed at $100,000 when it was put up for sale in February to pay Rottlund's creditors.

As recently as 2008, Savage city planners estimated that it would take $384,000 to buy the lot, according to minutes from a City Council work session. At the time, Rottlund, already feeling the impact of the housing downturn, had decided not to build on the parcel and had approached the city asking if it was interested in buying it for a neighborhood park.

Miller said the homeowners' association has begun to gather ideas on future uses for the land. Ideas so far include a dog park and a community garden.

One resident suggested a swimming pool, but Miller said he's not sure if the association would want to take on the expense of building and maintaining one. "I doubt we'll do anything in the way of large permanent structures," he said.

"This also was an opportunity to protect it," Miller said. Buying the site ensures that it won't go to another developer, whose building plans might not be to the liking of other residents, he said.

Among the hundreds of lots in 10 former Rottlund developments, 16 in Harmony in Rosemount also recently sold. More than 150 Harmony lots are still on the market; so are lots in Wildflower Meadows in Otsego, the Reserve in Plymouth, Victor Gardens in Hugo, the Lakes and Club West in Blaine, Arbor Crest in Inver Grove Heights, Inspiration in Bayport, and High Grove in Maple Grove.

Susan Feyder • 952-746-3282