I wrote this post in December about a proposed condo development in downtown St. Cloud. At the time, I thought it inconceivable that an entrepreneur would propose such a monstrosity. I was wrong. An entrepreneur has proposed this project. Here’s something that I wrote in response to the first Times Our View editorial:

The Times editorial board isn’t too bright if they think this is worthy of serious consideration. The former Dan Marsh Drugs building is less than 100 yards from 5 major bars (the Red Carpet, the Press Bar & Lounge, DB Searles, The Office and MC’s Dugout). There are other restaurants and delis within a stone’s throw from where Dan Marsh used to sit. All of these businesses are open well past midnight.

Why would anyone aspire to live that close to businesses that will keep them up well past midnight?

This week, the Times Editorial Board wrote this editorial singing the praises of this project:

First, when the condo project is built, the city will begin to receive property tax payments from the owners of the 46 units. The units range in price from $165,000 to $200,000. Even if it takes time to sell those units, the immediate benefits go far beyond just the tax collection.

Market-rate housing downtown will provide the missing piece of a strong, ongoing rebound for downtown.

With the River’s Edge Convention Center expansion has come a boost in downtown bars, restaurants and some retail. On the west end of downtown, the continued success of the Paramount Theatre and Visual Arts Center has been a strong anchor.

The proximity of downtown offices, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud Technical & Community College and St. Cloud Hospital makes the condo project attractive to several demographic groups, including young professionals, retirees and single people.

The downtown bars are still within a stone’s throw of the proposed condo. They’re still noisy well past midnight. Here’s the key phrase:

Even if it takes time to sell those units, the immediate benefits go far beyond just the tax collection.

It’s unlikely that this condo project will take off quickly. There’s a decent chance it won’t take off. That being said, if this company wants to build this white elephant, that’s their right. They should know, however, that they won’t get a bailout from the taxpayers if it fails.

7 Responses to “Downtown condo project, Part II”

  • Mystique says:

    The cards are stacked against the short term success of this project and probably the long term as well. In close proximity, the Coborn’s apartments lost close to $8 million since it opened in 2010. The university and taxpayers are already on the hook for that project which President Potter called a success. In the case of this proposed project, why would retirees want to move downtown where parking is a hassle and noise from the bars is problematic? The Times also mentioned being in close proximity to SCSU and the Tech College. Most college students will not be able to afford the purchase of a condo unless owners plan on renting their unit to college students which is another discussion. I didn’t make the connection to the draw of the St. Cloud Hospital. Gary, are you aware if a needs analysis study on the viability of this project has been conducted? As an investor myself, this would be the first question I would ask as a prospective partner in this project. Otherwise, the luck rabbit’s foot, fuzzy dice, or magic eight ball “signs points to YES” doesn’t count in my world.

  • Jarrett says:

    More clueless stupidity that will fail. NATIONWIDE, in MUCH more “vibrant” Cities than St Cloud this concept has failed From Ft Myers to San Diego, to Arlington,VA (Metro DC)
    How do I know? I purchased almost 100 of these at 80% off of the HEY DAY appraisals…and they were STILL difficult to market

    Whatever Bank underwrites and funds this better get a boatload of cross collateralization…and if I Bank there I will leave.

  • Rex Newman says:

    I spent a few minutes searching for St. Cloud apartments, no shortage, all very affordable. Just what void will this project fill?

  • Gary Gross says:

    Rex, why assume that this project will fill a void? That’s being rather charitable. It’s definitely a legitimate question. It’s just a legitimate question without a satisfactory answer.

  • Jarrett says:

    The only “void” is satisfaction of another dreamer developer with a sweet deal in hand from the City and a clueless newspaper providing traction to the legitimacy thing. This is SO stupid that anyone who supports this, even a little, needs to be viewed with caution.

  • Chad Q says:

    This is just like the City in China where no one lives yet they keep building apartments, roads, and the like all because the government keeps funding it.

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