Albert Lea City Council Gives Update on Workforce Housing Effort, Hospital Study

November 13, 2017 10:59 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- The city of Albert Lea is looking into a state grant that could make it easier to entice developers to build more market-rate rental units in the city.

At Monday's city council meeting, the council directed city staff to promote the workforce housing grant from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and work with developers to apply for that grant.


City Manager Chad Adams said the city is currently seeing a shortage of workforce housing units, and other than one project a few years ago, he said there hasn't been a significant number of rental units built in the city in more than two decades.

"Our market has been a little bit stagnant," he said. "We want to disrupt the market a little bit and kind of give it a little bit of a boost."

Adams said the city would also offer a local tax abatement similar to one currently available for single-family home construction for new rental units as well.

The lack of housing isn't just an issue for residents; at a workforce housing seminar in Rochester in May, Albert Lea businesses said they were having trouble finding new employees because of a lack of housing options.

Adams said the city hopes to add between 12 and 24 new rental units, and that construction could begin in 2018 if they receive the grant and secure a developer.

Also at Monday's council meeting, Adams said a report outlining the feasibility of a full-service, acute care hospital in Albert Lea could be released as early as next week.

In October, the city, Freeborn County and Save our Hospital groups voted to contribute up to $35,000 each for a study of the city's health care landscape after a June decision by the Mayo Clinic Health System to consolidate some of its inpatient services with its Austin facility. That contract was awarded to Brentwood, Tennessee-based Quorum Health Resources.


Logan Reigstad

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