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State Farm building won't see special legislation this year

Whatever happens with plans to redevelop the State Farm Insurance building, it won't involve special legislation this session at the Capitol.

Woodbury City Administrator Clint Gridley today confirmed the Legislature's timetable would be too narrow a window to draft any possible bill related to the State Farm property.

"Time lines are just too difficult to meet," he said of deadlines set this session by legislative leaders.

According to a news release from the Association of Metropolitan Cities, the House Tax Committee will consider all tax increment financing (TIF) bills on March 9, with all TIF legislation required to be introduced by March 7.

The city earlier this month approved funds to hire the Faegre & Benson law firm to draw up a plan to map out a redevelopment strategy for the State Farm property.

The firm was asked to consider drafting special legislation for the property, but Gridley said that option was merely a possibility among redevelopment strategies to be weighed.

Gridley said he was not disappointed that a TIF proposal could not be drafted in time for the current legislation session, but admitted "it really takes away ... what a TIF could do."

According to House research, TIF districts can be created as a means to finance real estate development costs. TIF uses the additional property taxes paid as a result of development in the district to pay for part of the development costs.

Gridley said the city is in "the conversational stage" with Wellington Management, the real estate group that last year placed a purchase option on the State Farm property. Last month Wellington announced a $68 million plan to redevelop the property through a mix of commercial retail and senior housing.

Gridley said Wellington has not yet submitted an application through the city to redevelop the property.

A call placed to Steve Wellington, president of the real estate group, was not immediately returned.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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