Update 2/17/17 – The White Bear Town Board has approved the self-storage project on Leibel Street, enabling Pine Ridge Capital and White Bear Mini Storage to begin development this summer. Developer Nate Hansen clarified during the meeting that the group has planned three phases. The first will include the climate-controlled building and a traditional storage structure, followed by two additional buildings in about two years. The third phase would include the remaining three buildings, according to the source.
“We want to be a part of the community,” Hansen told the board. “It’s important that our building looks nice because we want to drive retail business to our building. We want to become the place to go where you can quickly buy boxes, tape, blankets [and] bubble wrap for all your moving needs.”
The project received additional support from Darryl LeMire, president of the Benson Airport Board of Directors.
Though Kermes continued to have reservations about the project, he agreed it offered benefits. “For the size of the site, to only bring one or two full-time positions into the township doesn’t go a long way in meeting one of our goals to bring in increased employment,” he said during the meeting. “However, those benefits you are bringing to the township with this project [offset] that.”
2/10/17 – An investment group led by Jon Taxdahl has received pushback on a self-storage proposal in White Bear Township, Minn. Pine Ridge Capital LLC and White Bear Mini Storage intend to develop a seven-building facility on 4.5 acres at 5906 Highway 61 and 2310 Leibel St., but the planning commission initially recommended to deny the application. Taxdahl, a principal at Pine Ridge, has defended the $4 million project as an upgrade to a deteriorating property that will “add significant tax base for the town,” according to the source.
During a December meeting in which planners recommended against the project, Taxdahl said opposition was due to a “lack of education” about self-storage. He noted the property had been for sale for nearly seven years, with the asking price far below market value.
The project would make use of two storage buildings that are already on the property. An existing house, former machine shop and third storage structure would be removed. The storage facility would be built in two phases, with four buildings constructed this spring and three others planned within two years depending on the market, the source reported. One building will be designated for climate-controlled units.
The project requires a conditional-use permit for self-storage as well as a wetland permit to allow infill of three wetlands determined to be “incidental” by the watershed district, the source reported.
The property is adjacent to Benson Airport and Lake Animal Hospital. Veterinarian Amy Kruchowski Phillips spoke in favor of the self-storage plan but asked for fencing along the north and east sides of the property for screening. “My concerns were addressed,” she told planners. “The storage unit will be quiet neighbors. It’s better it get developed vs. having a dilapidated house and storage building that will become an eyesore.”
During an executive board meeting last month, board chair Bob Kermes said he considered the corner lot a gateway to the community and was concerned about the impression the storage business would make. Taxdahl noted the facility would be aesthetically pleasing, and the investment group would invest $20,000 in “lawn care,” according to the source.
The plan also includes a walking path on the east side of the property that abuts 18 acres of park land.
There will be another public hearing on the project.
Based in Edina, Minn., Pine Ridge Capital manages $40 million in real estate, according to the source. The White Bear project would be its second self-storage property.