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Harbor committee OKs draft agreement for town homes

Committee and developer to iron out a final version at Feb. 18 meeting

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 2/11/16

TOWER— The city’s harbor committee gave their approval last week to a draft development agreement with Nordic Business Development, Inc., as part of the city’s effort to facilitate the …

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Harbor committee OKs draft agreement for town homes

Committee and developer to iron out a final version at Feb. 18 meeting

Posted

TOWER— The city’s harbor committee gave their approval last week to a draft development agreement with Nordic Business Development, Inc., as part of the city’s effort to facilitate the construction of a 20-unit town home development adjacent to the new harbor.

Members of the harbor committee urged quick action on the agreement, which now goes to representatives of NBDI for their review. The two parties are tentatively set to meet Feb. 18 to iron out any differences and clarify expectations.

Under the draft deal, NBDI would become the exclusive developer of the site and would be responsible for creating a development master plan, subject to the approval of the city. They would also create all the architectural drawings, cost estimates, and scheduling for the various phases of the project, as well as a financing plan that will need to demonstrate the project’s economic viability.

For its part, the city would pursue a number of funding options to support construction of necessary utilities, roads, parking lots, and other related infrastructure. Funding could come from public sources, such as the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, as well as possible tax increment or tax abatement financing.

The city, through the Tower Economic Development Authority, will also be exploring the extent to which it can participate further in the financing of the project. Under the deal, the city would immediately grant the right of access to the property to NBDI for soil and environmental testing and wetland delineation. If the project moves forward, the city would provide NBDI with a long-term lease of the property.

While the initial focus of the project is a town home development, the deal also calls for NBDI to develop a conceptual vision for promoting Tower and the harbor project as a “model in rural sustainability” and to incorporate that vision into the Tower harbor master plan.

The TEDA and NBDI will also seek to enter into a separate joint development agreement, which both sides would bill for services rendered towards the project. Any accrued costs would be reimbursed when funding for the project is obtained.

Both parties to the agreement appear to be eager to move forward quickly, in hopes of getting construction underway in 2016.

“They’re chomping at the bit,” said Tower City Clerk-Treasurer Linda Keith, noting that NBDI has already made substantial progress with design sketches and plans. She said NBDI is hoping to fabricate the town homes in sections at a site yet to be determined in Tower.

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