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Signs of progress at Rosewood commercial development

There are signs a new road in Rosemount is having the desired effect, but its is not yet clear just how fast progress will come.

The city of Rosemount is about a month away from finishing work on an extension of 149th Street north of County Road 42. The new road will provide access to Rosewood Center, a commercial project proposed by developer KJ Walk Inc. to include a hotel and gas station as well as other businesses.

According to community development director Kim Lindquist, the idea when the city approved construction of the road was that providing improved access now would make the site more appealing to businesses. But while there appears to be interest in the site, Lindquist said there is no clear timeline just yet for getting work under way.

KJ Walk's timeline for the project, included in a packet of information meant for potential tenants, calls for work to begin on a Country Inn and Suites hotel by spring or summer of 2013, but Lindquist said this week the hotel's developer is still looking for financing.

"He has all the approvals he needs to apply for a building permit. He could start fairly quickly, but obviously the financing piece is the main thing right now," Lindquist said. "He still sounded hopeful and he's talking to people."

KJ Walk president Luke Israelson said the hotel's developer has a bank in place to provide financing but is still filling out his initial group of investors.

The new road might have made a difference to SuperAmerica, which was proposed for the site when the project was first brought to the city but later backed off. Lindquist said when someone from SuperAmerica saw the road under construction they went back to KJ Walk and started discussions again.

"From our standpoint, that's exactly what we were hoping, that once the road gets in businesses would feel more comfortable landing on that property," Lindquist said.

Israelson is happy just to be having discussions about the property. KJ Walk has owned the property for 10 years and was at one point in talks to land the Target that eventually went up at Pilot Knob Road and 160th Street. But that project was stalled by the kind of access issues the extension of 149th Street was meant to solve.

"Actually talking to people is a good step forward versus what we've been dealing with for the past 10 years," Israelson said.

Israelson said KJ Walk has had discussions with a number of businesses and he is "pretty confident" at least one deal currently in the works will go through. He wouldn't say anything about that business except that the individual planned to occupy about two thirds of his building and lease out the other third.

Israelson isn't targeting specific business types for the site.

"We're wide open," he said. "Pretty much anything that's commercial."

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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