Mayor explains why the city rejected recent Gateway offer

By Stefanie Donahue

One week after Blaine City Council rejected an offer from an investment firm to purchase 6 acres of land on the city’s Gateway Parcel, mayor Bonnie Onyon came forward with an explanation.

The firm, Uppal Investments, intended to build a truck fuel stop, a coffee shop, a fast-food restaurant and a 20,000-square-foot grocery building on the land, which is the former site of the Blaine Municipal Airport.

In a document provided to the city council from the buyer’s representative, Ron Freeman of Freeman Real Estate, Uppal Investments projected the combined developments would bring 45 jobs to Blaine and generate an estimated $25.9 million in annual revenue.

The city council chose not to take action on the offer following an executive session on May 29.

The decision prompted criticism from residents, many of whom said the city missed a valuable opportunity.

But Onyon disagrees.

“Frankly, Blaine doesn’t need another gas station,” she said. “We want something that will truly add value to residents.”

She noted that the city is in negotiations with Boblett Properties LLC, representing Yorkston Oil Co., to purchase and transfer land on the Gateway Parcel.

While nothing is final, she said the company intends to build a truck fuel stop, a fast food restaurant and truck parking.

“We don’t want to duplicate what we already have,” she said.

Onyon said the city council has interest in using the north half of the parcel – where Uppal Investments intended to purchase land – potentially for a hotel, premium grocery store, sports facility, medical clinic or multi-family housing.

“We are not holding out for a specific buyer,” she added. “We expect to have offers in the near future.”

  1. So if I understand correctly, another company (Boblett Properties LLC) is already planning on putting their own truck-stop, restaurant, parking, etc.? Because of that, the Council didn’t feel that the other party (Uppal Investments) wanting to do essentially the same thing was a good idea? If that is the case, I now better understand their reasoning for denying it, but they could’ve been clearer about that the first time.

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