Dakota County plans to demolish a problem property in Inver Grove Heights — once the site of a large drug bust — and eventually turn the area into multifamily housing.
The Dakota County Community Development Agency (CDA) will knock down the house at 4120 E. 63rd St. using a backhoe and a bulldozer by the end of the month, said Tony Schertler, executive director of the CDA. The long-term plan is to build at least 60 units of housing on the property.
The CDA has been buying up properties on the block for years, he said. The agency purchased this house in September 2021 for $260,000 after the owner decided he wanted to sell the rental home. The CDA is finishing an environmental review of the site, Schertler said.
"We are in the business of building supply of housing," he said. "We're going to build more units of housing whenever we take down a unit."
The home is a "problem property," and the area is underutilized, he said.
A large drug bust occurred at the home on Aug. 5, 2021, when the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) worked with the Inver Grove Heights Police Department to recover 268 pounds of meth, two kilos of cocaine, three pounds of mushrooms and one pound of marijuana, according to a tweet from the Inver Grove Heights police. Three men were arrested.
Emily Murray, spokeswoman for the DEA, said the case was being prosecuted and there is an ongoing investigation, so she couldn't share more.
These kinds of redevelop projects are complicated "and take years to roll out," Schertler said.
The property in the Concord Square area is about 3.5 acres and zoned for mixed use and single family homes in the city's 2040 Comprehensive Plan, said Amy Looze, spokeswoman for Inver Grove Heights.
Zoning would have to be changed to put multifamily housing there, she said.
The CDA has acquired 13 of 15 properties on the triangular-shaped block, and is in negotiations over acquiring the last two, Schertler said.
Previous plans to build 40 townhouses on the site were recently withdrawn, Schertler said, in favor of trying to put workforce housing there instead.
"We're reflecting what the community has asked for," Schertler said.
Schertler called it "a classic urban redevelopment-type project" with "challenges, contamination, no doubt."
"This is something that takes patience; it takes years and a lot of community participation to make sure we're doing what the community wants," he said.
Looze said the CDA "would be driving" any project on the site.
"We look forward to seeing what the county submits and reacting to that," she said.