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New retail store planned in Wadena

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Developers are pitching a project that would bring a new “retail store” to a vacant lot on the north side of Wadena, but what type of business is a closely held secret.

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On Tuesday night, the city council considered an application for tax increment financing (TIF) that would offer up to $140,000 in property tax subsidy for a $800,000, 8,000 square foot retail store just north of Superone, along Juniper Avenue and First Street in northwest Wadena.

A city committee has determined the project meets TIF requirements. If the council hired a financial consultant to complete a TIF plan, the next step in the process, it will be presented at a required public hearing.

As of press time Tuesday afternoon, hours before council action, officials were mum about the name and nature of the business.   

Dean Uselman, who handles TIF requests as development authority director, said Monday that people who knows the details were bound by confidentiality until the council agreed to move forward.

A worksheet provided to the council that was used to score the project for TIF eligibility offered a few clues. The business, it said, would provide less than 15 new full-time jobs with health insurance benefits. It would pay between $10 and $13 per hour. The likelihood the project would result in unsubsidized spin-off development was rated as moderate. The worksheet indicated the project would add between $15,000 and $25,000 to the tax base in its first fully assessed year. 

Because it meets the TIF requirements, Uselman said, “There’s no reason for us not to approve it.”

As details about the business emerge, they’ll be posted at wadenapj.com.

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