Milaca Building Gift Benefits Downtown Economy
What started with a frantic phone call from the Minnesota Community Foundation requesting a real estate donation to be processed in the final days of the year turned into an economic development opportunity that has fueled a small Minnesota town.
The Minnesota Real Estate Foundation (MREF) accepted the donation just before Christmas and had the donors sign the necessary paperwork by Dec. 30 from Hawaii.
“Working with MREF allowed us to receive this valuable gift of real estate while accomplishing our goal of partnering with other foundations,” said Bob Lawson, MCF development officer. “Minnesota’s nonprofit community is lucky to have this option available.A Quick Response
MREF made the process easy for donors Rick and Lynn Olson and MCF. The Olsons received the end-of-the-year tax benefits, avoided significant tax burdens and created a fund to support their favorite charities.
“MREF was able to do what other organizations were not,” Rick Olson said. “They accomplished it very quickly and we are more than happy with how this worked out.”
But the charitable contributions from the $1 million commercial building were only the beginning of the benefits. The 20,000-square-foot commercial building, updated in 1992, already accommodated a major, recognizable, high volume tenant.
“This block was important in maintaining the vitality of downtown Milaca,” Lawson said. “This could have involved a lot of risk, but MREF made the process easy and worry-free for us."An Economic Gain
The Minnesota Real Estate Foundation worked with the city of Milaca to establish a tax increment financing zone and acquire the adjoining property to further entice a buyer and achieve Milaca’s downtown development goals.
City Leaders welcomed the opportunity and leveraged a variety of programs. This resulted in the retention of 85 local jobs and the opportunity to further rejuvenate the downtown economy. “I cannot say enough about working with the Minnesota Real Estate Foundation. I really felt they were a partner with the City on this project,” Milaca City Manager Greg Lerud said.
“MREF was very cognizant of the city's position and intentions with regard to downtown redevelopment. They were extraordinarily accommodating in working with both the city and the ultimate buyer of the building.”