Rita’s Italian Ice, a national chain that specializes in frozen treats, recently opened in Eagan.

The store at Diffley Marketplace is the first in Minnesota for the company, which has more than 600 stores in 24 states. Last fall it opened its first store outside the United States in Shenzhen, China, and this year will see the opening of Rita’s in Canada and the Philippines.

Adam and Angela Ailloni are the franchisees for the Eagan outlet and plan to have about 20 Rita’s locations in the Twin Cities by 2020.

Project site sold

Mattamy Homes, a Canadian builder with a large presence in the Twin Cities, recently purchased much of the land needed for more than 1,000 units of housing proposed for Lakeville.

The company paid $26.5 million for about 500 acres of land along Cedar Avenue south of Dodd Boulevard, according to documents filed with the Minnesota Department of Revenue. Most of it previously was owned by another housing developer but taken back by the lender several years ago.

Mattamy has said it would like to develop the lots and build about 1,000 single-family homes and townhouses plus up to 156 units of multiunit housing over the next eight to 10 years. If approved, the project would be the largest in Lakeville since 2005, when the city approved Spirit of Brandtjen Farm, a development that envisions about 2,000 homes on 520 acres near W. 170 Street and Pilot Knob Road.

In addition to homes, Mattamy’s project also would include a clubhouse and small neighborhood parks sprinkled throughout the site. The city’s current parks, trails and open space plan identifies a greenway corridor bisecting the site and a future 60-plus acre public park to the south.

Daren Laberee, Mattamy’s land development manager, has declined to specify the total price of the development but said it would likely be more than $100 million.

Development update

City planners in Farmington recently gave the Economic Development Authority an update on projects receiving community development block grants last year.

Baldy’s BBQ, which received $15,000 to acquire new equipment, is open. Triton Properties LLC has used its $7,320 grant to remove three underground petroleum tanks at 705 Eighth St. A new business has yet to open on the property.

Dakota County Lumber Co. is nearly done with work installing a fire suppression system that is part of an expansion by the business. It is due to receive a $19,000 grant for the project.

Janssen Inc. has finished work on replacing a roof and canopy on its property at 1024 Eighth St. The project was funded in part by a $3,200 grant.

Long Branch Saloon & Eatery used a $14,721 grant for a variety of improvements, including removing a canopy, repairing brick on its facade and removing and replacing a glass door.