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What's the price for the Seneca site? Olmsted County commissioners expect to discuss Tuesday

Titan Development and Investments submitted top-ranked proposal for county-owned property, which appears to require sale of part or all of the Southeast Rochester site.

Seneca Site
The former Seneca site on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Rochester.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — Olmsted County commissioners are expected to meet behind closed doors Tuesday to review a proposal related to the former Seneca Foods canning facility site.

The proposal by Titan Development and Investments is one of four received by Rochester Area Economic Development Inc. in partnership with the county.

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“The highest ranking one got all of the points, and all the others got very, very low points, based on the criteria,” Deputy County Administrator Pete Giesen said of four proposals, which were reviewed by RAEDI and county staff.

Points in the evaluation of the four proposals were awarded based on four factors:

  • Assessment of the respondents’ overall project plan and approach (40%).
  • Expressed understanding of the project and required SOI response deliverables (25%).
  • Assessment of the proposed project team for qualifications, experience with similar projects, appropriate resources allocated to the project, references (20%).
  • Assessment of identified risks and associated plans for mitigation (15%).

RAEDI signed a $60,000 contract with the county to seek concepts for the former Seneca property , which were submitted in response to a public request released in March. The goal was to seek options for potential development of the site at the intersection of 12th Street and Third Avenue Southeast.

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County commissioners have asked to review the other proposals, but it was unclear whether that will be allowed under the request for statements of interest, which holds most details as confidential documents.

“I’ve been shown one, and I’d like to see what the other three are,” Commissioner Matt Flynn said, adding that he doesn’t anticipate it would change the outcome of Tuesday’s decision.

During Tuesday afternoon’s regular meeting of the county commissioners, READI and county staff will initiate the discussion in public, but commissioners and key county staff members will move to a closed meeting to discuss a potential sale price of any land that would be sold under Titan’s proposal. RAEDI staff members are not expected to be part of the closed meeting.

Olmsted County purchased the 10.6-acre Seneca site for $5.6 million in 2019 and invested $1.1 million to demolish the former canning facility and restore the iconic ear-of-corn water tower in 2020.

While the purchase was initially made with the intention of creating a Destination Medical Center-related transportation hub at the site, the plan fell through, and commissioners have discussed options ranging from extending Graham Park to creating a mix of affordable housing and commercial space at the site.

Titan Development and Investments, a Rochester-based development and real estate company led by Andy Chafoulias, has a history of creating affordable and senior housing, as well as retail development.

If commissioners support Titan’s proposal, the county is expected to create a non-binding agreement to start development negotiations, which could include the sale of some or all of the former Seneca property.

County commissioners meet at 3 p.m. Tuesday in board chambers of the city-county Government Center, 151 Fourth St. SE.

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Upcoming meetings

Meetings scheduled to be held during the week of Aug. 15 include:

Rochester

  • City Council study session, 3:30 p.m. Monday In council chambers of the city-county Government Center, 151 Fourth St. SE. The meeting will livestream at www.rochestermn.gov/meetings/council-meetings and be available on Spectrum cable channel 180 or 188 and Metronet channel 80.
  • Ethical Practices Board, 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in room 104 of City Hall, 201 Fourth St. SE.
  • Outside Agency Oversight Committee, 2 p.m. Wednesday in room 104 of City Hall.
  • Library Board, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in meeting room C of the Rochester Public Library, 101 Second St. SE.

Olmsted County

  • Health, Housing and Human Services Committee, 11 a.m. Tuesday in conference room 2 for the city-county Government Center.
  • Housing and Redevelopment Authority Board, 1 p.m. Tuesday in board chambers of the Government Center.
  • Physical Development Committee, 2 p.m. Tuesday in conference room 2 for the city-county Government Center.
  • Administrative Committee, 2 p.m. Tuesday in board chambers of the Government Center.
  • Board of County Commissioners, 3 p.m. Tuesday in the board chambers of the Government Center.
  • Parks Commission, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Public Works, 2122 Campus Drive SE in Rochester.
  • Environmental Commission, 7:15 p.m. Wednesday in conference room A at 2122 Campus Drive SE.
  • Planning Advisory Commission, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, board chambers of the Government Center.

Rochester Public Schools

  • School Board study session, 5 p.m. Tuesday in the boardroom of the Edison Building, 615 Seventh St. SW.
Randy Petersen joined the Post Bulletin in 2014 and became the local government reporter in 2017. An Elkton native, he's worked for a variety of Midwest papers as reporter, photographer and editor since graduating from Winona State University in 1996. Readers can reach Randy at 507-285-7709 or rpetersen@postbulletin.com.
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