PROPERTY OWNER SUES OVER PROJECT
OFFER FOR TWIN LAKES LAND CALLED 'LOW BALL'
Steve Scott, St. Paul Pioneer Press
October 29, 2005

A property owner in Roseville has sued the city and developers for making a "low-ball" offer to purchase its properties in the planned Twin Lakes redevelopment, alleging that is a tactic that would lead to an improper use of eminent domain.

Minnesota Industrial Ventures owns two office buildings and a distribution warehouse on 6.5 acres within the 80 acres designated for the first phase of the Twin Lakes project.

The city has granted approval to the master developer, the Rottlund Cos., to build 730 housing units, 225,000 square feet of office space and 325,000 square feet of shops and restaurants in the area north and east of Cleveland Avenue and County Road C.

Rottlund owns about 60 percent of the property in the area, Roseville City Manager Neal Beets said, and is working to acquire the rest. The city owns no land in Twin Lakes but has a redevelopment contract with Rottlund.

Minnesota Industrial Ventures contends if it doesn't accept what it calls an inadequate offer by Rottlund, the contract would allow the city to use eminent domain to acquire the property. The suit alleges condemnation should not be used to acquire property for a private use.

The suit also alleges that the planned project has hurt Minnesota Industrial Ventures' ability to lease its properties or sell them on the open market.

Minnesota Industrial Ventures is the first property owner to file suit against Twin Lakes. A citizens group earlier asked the courts for a new environmental review of the project, and that litigation is expected to continue for several months.

"There is nothing in either lawsuit right now that prevents Rottlund from continuing its efforts to purchase property voluntarily and doing extensive environmental work," Beets said. "The project continues, although these lawsuits obviously make it a little more difficult to continue."

Steve Scott may be reached at 651-228-5526 or sscott@pioneerpress.com.

2005 St. Paul Pioneer Press and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.
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