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South shore gets interest: Developer of Lake Bemidji Lodge gets until June 14 to purchase 1.46-acre lot

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Interest in Lake Bemidji Lodge, a mixed-use development proposed for the Village at South Shore, has been high, according to the real estate firm working to pre-sell the condos.

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Doug Fuller, owner/broker of First Realty Bemidji, said there are more than a handful of buyers interested in the condos.

"We do have about six to eight people that are circling the property and have inquired and have even gotten to the point of having us go out to their house to do a market analysis on their (current) property," he said.

None of the condos is a pending or confirmed sale yet, he said, but those six to eight buyers are "definitely interested."

For Drew Olson, that is welcome news.

Olson is the principal with MoDevUSA, the developer of Lake Bemidji Lodge, which is proposed to consist of 22 residential units ranging in size from 720 to 1,900 square feet. All units would have lakefront views, their own parking space in an underground garage and access to a shared workout and yoga facility. It also would feature a Zorbaz on the Lake on the first floor.

Olson and the city of Bemidji have an agreement in place through which MoDevUSA has until June 14 to purchase a 1.46-acre lot in the Village at South Shore development.

The Bemidji City Council Monday evening voted unanimously to confirm the agreement, through which MoDevUSA will have three months to execute a purchase agreement on the land at $500,000 per acre.

Olson met with the South Shore Design Review Committee on March 2, at which time he offered $500,000 an acre for the 1.46-acre lot, positioned behind the Paul Bunyan Trail on the Lake Bemidji shoreline.

He said Tuesday that the letter from the city, dated Monday, was an expected response.

The process of working with city staff and the Design Review Committee has been "seamless," Olson said.

The Lake Bemidji Lodge residential units went on the market between two and three weeks ago. Fuller said he has been very pleased with the amount of interest, noting that online traffic at www.firstrealtybemidji.com/lake-bemidji-lodge.htm has been "incredible" as potential buyers have watched the virtual tour and learned more about the development proposal.

"There is a lot of excitement about the whole south shore development project," Fuller said.

Fuller said 90 days will be more than enough time to gauge the market interest.

If the market supports the project, Olson said, he would break ground this spring.

"It's an exciting time for us," he said.

The 90-day agreement gives Olson until mid-June to execute a purchase agreement, which would require a "significant" down payment, said City Manager John Chattin.

It also states that the Bemidji Economic Development Authority, which owns the south shore land, will not negotiate with other developers for the lot up until June 14.

"This effectively leaves the ball in his court," said Councilor Roger Hellquist, referencing Olson.

Councilor Rita Albrecht said the 90-day agreement will help Olson in that it solves his "Catch-22" position.

"He wants to buy the property, we want to sell, and he doesn't have the earnest money to put down," Albrecht said. "I think it's a good solution."

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