economic development

Construction begins at Kandi Mall in Willmar

June 19, 2017

Construction begins at Kandi Mall in Willmar
WILLMAR—There is movement at the Kandi Mall, as a construction crew has begun digging into the parking lot, to make room for a new retail building. This additional building is part of the larger renovation project being planned by mall owner RockStep Capital. This new retail space will be located between Tires Plus and the former Pizza Hut. It will have three units for tenants. The end caps will be 3,500 square feet and 1,800 feet, with the middle unit coming in at 1,200 square feet. Willmar Planning

Schwieters Chevrolet building new dealership in Willmar

June 17, 2017

Schwieters Chevrolet building new dealership in Willmar
WILLMAR—Schwieters Chevrolet in Willmar is planning to build a new dealership along the south side of Willmar Avenue adjacent to Lakeland Drive Southeast. The dealership will be relocating to the new site from its present location on First Street South. “It is going to give us better opportunity,” Schwieters Managing Partner Bill Zastrow said. The dealership’s current site is very cramped, so the new location will allow the business to spread out. Schwieters has seen consistent

Industrial Park business agreements approved

June 15, 2017

Industrial Park business agreements approved
WILLMAR—Public hearings regarding land sales and business agreements were held during last Monday’s city council Monday, as the final steps before two development projects can begin in the Industrial Park. ISCO Inc., a parent company of Buhler-Versatile is purchasing a 5.9 acre plot of land located directly south of the Bühler manufacturing facility in the Industrial Park. The company plans to build a warehouse on the lot. The starting sale price of the land was set at $322,807. However,

1000 Degrees fires up pizza in Willmar

June 13, 2017

1000 Degrees fires up pizza in Willmar
WILLMAR—Not only does the oven at 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria actually cook the pies at 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, there are literally thousands of pizza combinations possible—between 33,000 and 34,000 to be exact. “There is no shortage of pizza,” owner Carl Lindblad said. Carl owns the restaurant with his wife, Courtney Lindblad, and the two are excited to be opening the first 1000 Degree franchise in Minnesota in Willmar, only a short distance from their native Benson. “That

Clock is ticking on broadband sign-ups in Kandiyohi County

June 12, 2017

Clock is ticking on broadband sign-ups in Kandiyohi County
WILLMAR—The Kandiyohi County Commissioners had an urgent message Tuesday for property owners in a Consolidated Telecommunications Co. broadband project zone: The clock is ticking. Customer sign-ups reached 72 percent of the goal this week. But another 220 or so are needed before Consolidated Telecommunications can start construction of a fiber line poised to bring high-speed internet to rural north central Kandiyohi County. The longer it takes to reach the sign-up goal, the greater the likelihood

Willmar hospital and clinic seek affiliation with CentraCare of St. Cloud

May 25, 2017

Willmar hospital and clinic seek affiliation with CentraCare of St. Cloud
WILLMAR—Rice Memorial Hospital and Affiliated Community Medical Centers formally agreed to a letter of intent Wednesday night to join forces with CentraCare Health of St. Cloud. It’s the first step toward forming a new corporation to collaboratively deliver health care in Willmar and the region. Leaders of both organizations said the move will help preserve and enhance local health care in the face of accelerating change. “As a board we know health care is changing rapidly,” said

Opening Kandi Mall to more than just retail uses

May 21, 2017

Opening Kandi Mall to more than just retail uses
WILLMAR—While the Kandi Mall in Willmar has so far dodged any store closings in recent months, Andy Weiner, president of RockStep Capital, who owns the retail center, warned the Willmar Planning Commission that the mall could be facing an unsure future. “This property is too big for current and future retail in Willmar. That is a fact,” Weiner said during a conference call with the commission on May 10. Department stores and national retail brands are struggling with plummeting sales,

Housing project could bring 45 affordable units to Willmar

May 20, 2017

Housing project could bring 45 affordable units to Willmar
WILLMAR—Housing availability, especially workforce housing, has been a topic of concern in Willmar for some time. A potential development could help alleviate some of the strain, by bringing 45 high-quality and affordable units to Willmar. “The city has an opportunity to participate in a workforce housing project. This is the first one we’ve been able to sink our teeth into,” Willmar Planning and Development Director Bruce Peterson said Monday during a work session of the Willmar

Environmental work complete on Willmar Wye

May 17, 2017

Environmental work complete on Willmar Wye
WILLMAR—The Willmar Wye rail bypass project has completed a big step in the process this week. The Federal Rail Administration and the Federal Highway Administration have signed off on the Finding of No Significant Impact document, which is the last step in the environmental portion of the project, the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced Tuesday in a news release. The impact document is based on the environmental assessment worksheet, which evaluates the need, environmental issues

Highway 23 four-lane project from Willmar to I-94 needs community push

May 15, 2017

Highway 23 four-lane project from Willmar to I-94 needs community push
WILLMAR—A loose-knit coalition of local transportation advocates may soon be reinvented—and reignited—in its mission to complete a four-lane route between Willmar and St. Cloud. The group has been lobbying for decades to make state Highway 23 a four-lane link to Interstate 94. Aaron Backman, executive director of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission, wants to broaden that coalition to bring in more community partners and give the group more structure that