New Brighton submits $1.9 million offer to buy Korean church property


New Brighton has submitted a $1.9 million offer to purchase the property at 701 Eighth Ave. NW, the site of the Korean United Methodist Church, which is no longer in use. Once the sale goes through, the city said it will likely redevelopment the land for residential purposes, though it has not yet made a final decision. Jesse Poole

The Korean United Methodist Church is just an eight minute walk from New Brighton City Hall, and the land has long been considered a desirable spot for redevelopment. courtesy of Google Maps

New Brighton is aiming to make an investment by acquiring a plot of land just blocks from City Hall and its public safety facility. 

The city recently submitted an offer to purchase the property on which the now-defunct Korean United Methodist Church sits, located at 701 Eighth Ave. NW, an eight-minute walk from City Hall. The 35,000-square-foot church was built in 1940, according Ramsey County property records.

According to the city, the seller has selected New Brighton’s offer out of a field of four other offers that were submitted, and “it’s reasonable to expect the city to close on the property this fall,” New Brighton said in a Sept. 13 statement, noting that legal details are still being worked out.

The city council unanimously decided to submit an offer because, according to city documents, the property has appeared in Old Highway 8 Corridor studies dating back to the late-1980s as having potential for redevelopment.

In a statement, the city said a 2017 Citizen Survey ranked housing as the second most critical issue to residents, second only to safe drinking water. 

“Purchasing this property has been discussed by staff and elected officials for years,” the statement said. “Construction of housing is a likely use of the property, but that has yet to be determined by the city council.”

No matter what goes there, the city said it has agreed to conduct an environmental investigation during a 45-day due diligence period, due to concerns that the land could be contaminated by pollutants.

“During the due diligence period the city can terminate the purchase agreement for any reason and back out of the deal.”

Two years ago, the same property was substantially more expensive at $2.7 million, just more than  its estimated market value, per Ramsey County. The city said that price “would have been financially irresponsible to pay.” 

New Brighton plans to finance the purchase with existing cash in the city’s Redevelopment Fund — “the acquisition costs will not impact current or future levies,” the city assured. 

New Brighton, which was not threatening eminent domain over the deteriorating property, said several concept plans for the site have been drawn up over the years, including multi-family housing, but “no definitive final land use has been determined.” 

 

Jesse Poole can be reached at jpoole@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7815



 

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