Downtown liquor store may move
Visibility won't be an issue anymore if a proposed property purchase goes through for the city of Farmington.
Farmington City Council members have met several times in recent months to consider the purchase of property located at 420 Elm St., where the Supreme Laundry laundromat is located. The city's not looking to get into the laundry business though. City officials are considering the site as a new location for the downtown Farmington Liquor Store.
The downtown liquor store's lease is up Aug. 1, according to Farmington parks and recreation director Randy Distad. Under terms of the current lease, the city pays $165,000 annually to use the 6,250-square-foot space in the City Center development near Saver's Choice grocery store.
The business center is also located off of Elm Street, but the building where the liquor store is located is tucked back in the northeast corner of the parking lot. It's not a place that offers a lot in the way of visibility, even though a marquee sign beckons at the entrance to City Center.
"There is a desire to get closer to the road," city administrator David McKnight said, "to get some better visibility."
Neither McKnight nor Distad will say for sure whether the city will purchase the laundromat location. But McKnight said if city officials go ahead with the purchase, the city will take the entire building. That includes a 5,000-square-foot vacant space that was most recently home to a second-hand Christmas decoration store, as well as the laundromat.
If the city buys the building the plan is to let the laundromat continue in its current capacity. The liquor store would take up the space that is currently vacant.
The city may also consider making upgrades to the building and may add some space, Distad said.
But that won't happen unless the city makes the purchase. City officials have had their meetings, but because a new business in that location could mean an increase in traffic around the neighborhood, they now want to hear from residents.
During the Jan. 17 council meeting, elected officials hope to hear from residents. Those who live closest to the site have received letters giving notice of the public comment time scheduled that night, but any resident is welcome to weigh in, McKnight said.
"Nothing is final," McKnight said. "(Council members) want public opinion before they make a decision."
The proposed liquor store location is about the same size as the Pilot Knob store, Distad said. That store covers 4,720-square-feet.
"If we move forward, we would have time to make the necessary improvements and get moved in there before the current lease expired," Distad said. "Right now, we're just taking a step back and gathering that public input before we move forward."
Because the city is still in negotiations for the sale, neither McKnight nor Distad could disclose a proposed purchase price. The building is owned by David Larson of Albert Lea.