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Takhar still plans Pinnacle Village outlet mall

Harry Takhar continues to work to secure tenants for Pinnacle Village outlet mall.

Takhar earlier this month met with city and joint planning staff in what he described as an "extremely positive" meeting to discuss the project.

In March 2008, it was announced that Capital Growth Madison Marquette, a national real-estate company based in Minneapolis, had partnered with Takhar to develop the project. That partnership did not last. In fact, Takhar said last week that the partnership was never actually completed.

Takhar said he now is working to secure tenants for the project, which is proposed to be done in phases.

Progress on the project has been stalled the last couple of years due to the economy, but Takhar said he sees positive indications.

"The economy is changing; the world is changing," he said. "People are buying things again. That makes the tenants a little bit more comfortable."

Confirmed tenants are critical, he said, because the money that it takes to invest in the first phase is substantial.

The plan has been for a 115,000-square-foot outlet center and a 170,000-square-foot big-box retailer for the first phase.

Takhar said he still envisions a mixed-use center, but said a specific plan will depend on the tenants and financial institutions as to what can be invested.

"Consumer confidence in the last few months is improving," he said. "It's changing."

There currently are not permits active for the project.

Mel Milender, the planning administrator for the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board, said all of the permits were pulled about three years ago at Takhar's request.

There are no active applications on the project, he said.

The biggest concern at this point appears to be with the infrastructure needs for the site.

Milender said Takhar needs to indicate his plans to pay for the infrastructure needs, get those engineered and also obtain crossing permits from the pipeline and highway.

Neither the city nor the JPB can install the infrastructure needs first and assess properties later, Milender noted.