Council Tables Municipal Services Sale 06 Mar 17

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Meeting in adjourned session last night – the Thief River Falls City Council moved on two resolutions and tabled another as City Leaders push ahead to clear the way for the huge expansion announced this week by DigiKey, headquartered in Thief River Falls.

Aldermen stepping up to maintain the community’s standing as the “preferred site” for that expansion, Wednesday night approved an April 18th Public Hearing to consider a 9 year, $2 to $7 million dollar Economic Development Tax Increment Financing Package that would help fund infrastructure for the 1 million square foot expansion.

The Council also agreed to an Electric Department Relocation Feasibility Study as they prepare to vacate the Municipal Services Center, before July 31st of this year. The five thousand dollar contract approved last night with Widseth, Smith and Nolting will include a broad analysis of City Space considering both temporary and permanent relocation options.

And Aldermen last night tabled an offer from DigiKey to purchase the 7 acre Municipal Services complex, after realizing a market value for the property has never been determined. Following closed door discussion the council instead called for a commercial appraisal of the property and established a negotiations committee to continue to work on the deal.

The current Electric Department; located adjacent to and west of the DigiKey Complex – was purchased by the city from Torque Manufacturing for “a dollar and other considerations” in 1983. It has never been appraised and Mayor Brian Holmer said last night said the city has no idea what it is worth.

The July 31 deadline to finalize the sale and vacate the property will allow DigiKey time to relocate their present employee parking area well ahead of construction.

Meanwhile, Mayor Holmer is scheduled to meet today in St. Paul with the Chief of Staff to Governor Mark Dayton as the city works to enlist state support for the project.

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Wednesday March 8th, 2017

Playwright William Shakespeare said, “Action is eloquence” and the Thief River Falls City Council spoke volumes last night – scheduling a special session this evening to act on three components of support for a huge DigiKey Expansion Plan.

The plan – announced just this week – to include one million square feet; the equivalent of 23 acres – adding to DigiKey’s global electronic distribution foot print.

Tonight the council hopes to maintain their status as the “prefered site” for that expansion by moving quickly on Economic Development Tax Increment Financing – similar to the support given the recent Arctic Cat Expansion – and a real estate transaction that would allow DigiKey to acquire the present Municipal Services Site, just west of DigiKey Headquarters in Thief River Falls.

Even as the city moves quickly, Mayor Brian Holmer said last night the city, county and school district will have to throw the full weight of their influence behind an effort to also acquire state support for the expansion – now very timely with Thief River Falls Day at the Capitol scheduled tomorrow in St. Paul.

Over the next decade, the expansion is expected to add a thousand new jobs to DigiKey’s employment base, which now stands at 3,200. Company officials say current operations generate $1.5 billion in economic output, adding $940 million to Minnesota’s gross state product.

The new expansion is expected to generate another $500 million in economic output.

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Monday March 6th 2017

Digi-Key is planning a one million square foot expansion.

According to a spokesman, the company is reviewing several options for the project with an estimated investment value of between $200-$300 million.  While the company reports multiple options are available, Thief River Falls would be the preferred location.  The decision would be based on both local approvals and legislative changes.

Digi-Key’s President and CEO Dave Doherty says the potential expansion would add over 1,000 new jobs over the next ten years.  Digi-Key’s current operations generate about $1.5 billion in economic output and the new expansion would add an additional $500 million in state economic output.