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City Council Work Session
Meeting Date: 09/10/2019  
Subject:    Consider Options for Former Fire Station Site (401 - 115th Ave.)
From: Matt Stemwedel, City Manager

Staff has received inquiries about the potential purchase of the former City fire station building and property located at 401 - 115th Ave. near Foley Blvd.  Staff has researched the possibility of selling this property and has options for the City Council to consider.
Constructed in 1960, this approximately 3,200 square-foot building ceased operation as a fire station nearly three decades ago.  Since that time, it has primarily been used as storage space for the Coon Rapids Athletic Association (CRAA) and to store a parade float.  CRAA has an informal lease with the City, but has not paid for use of the space.  In recent years, staff has received inquiries from three parties about potentially purchasing the property.  The timing of this conversation is also significant in that staff has identified a handful of upcoming building maintenance needs that should be addressed if the City decides to maintain ownership of the site.  The property is zoned LDR-2 and guided Low Density Residential in the 2040 Plan, so certain reuses may require rezoning.  Potential options and considerations for this site include:

Retain Building As-Is:  If the building remains a City-owned storage space, the roof will need eventual replacement and several windows and doors will require patching or replacement to ensure that the building remains water tight.  The lease with CRAA could be renegotiated to account for these needs.  While staff are not aware of other City needs for the space, staff does not necessarily see any urgency in disposing of the property.

Sell Property to an Interested Buyer:  At least three parties have approached staff in recent years with potential interest in the property.  Staff believes that while the building has some value, it has several maintenance needs in addition to those listed above that would be factored into a sale price, including:
  • Fire sprinkling and monitoring if it changes occupancy.
  • Updated bathrooms that meet the current accessibility code.
  • A new air conditioner and modifications to the HVAC system.
  • Abatement of potential asbestos-containing materials used to insulate the backup generator.
If the Council wishes to dispose of the property, staff recommends using a simple Request for Proposals process.  This would involve requesting basic information from each prospective buyer, allowing staff to evaluate each proposal and make a recommendation to the Council.  Types of information requested could include:
  • Proposed purchase price.
  • Background and experience of potential purchaser.
  • Proposed use of property and description of improvements to be made to property.
  • Financial projection of sources and uses for project.
  • Data to support viability of project, such as market studies or letter of interest, if applicable.
A sale of the property could be tied to a development agreement that would require the buyer to construct certain improvements within a particular time frame.  Other options for the sale of this property could also be considered if the City Council desired.  As noted previously, the property would need to be re-zoned and likely combined with a small piece of land that is adjacent to the fire station site and also owned by the City before a sale would occur.
Staff is seeking direction from the City Council on the future of the former fire station site located at 401 - 115th Ave.

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