2023: A Year of Progress for Elk River's Economic Development Department

2023: A Year of Progress for Elk River's Economic Development Department Main Photo

29 Mar 2024

The Elk River Economic Development Department is proud to present a summary of its accomplishments and the overall economic growth experienced in Elk River throughout 2023; this past year showcased a collaborative effort between the EDA, HRA, local businesses, and residents, resulting in a thriving economic landscape.

Committees Leading the Way

  • Together Elk River Committee: This committee championed the "Together Elk River" initiative, focusing on the impact of the 169 Redefine project on businesses along the Highway 169 corridor. Their efforts included social media campaigns and securing a digital billboard to promote local businesses and events.
  • Beautification and Public Art Committee: This newly merged committee recognized businesses contributing to the city's aesthetics through the annual City Beautification Award. In December, Edge Bar + Boutique was awarded for recently constructing a coffee bar and boutique downtown. In addition, the committee began work on soliciting additional public art for the community and will start the artist search in early 2024. 
  • Joint Finance Committee: This committee provided valuable expertise in reviewing and supporting decisions regarding multiple loans issued by the EDA.

Department Activities

  • Marketing: Elk River's properties and programs were actively marketed through various channels, including web and print ads, attending trade shows and summits, and participating in events like the Chamber of Commerce golf tournament and real estate expos. The Economic Development Department, in partnership with Sherburne County Economic Development, staffed a sponsored hole for the annual Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament at Links at Northfork in July. The MNCAR Commercial Real Estate Expo was held in October, and multiple properties were promoted to hundreds of real estate professionals. In November, Economic Development Director Brent O’Neil was featured on a panel focused on development in the north suburbs. 
  • Collaboration: The department fostered strong relationships with local organizations like Tri-CAP and ERMU, collaborating on initiatives such as a home improvement resources mailer.
  • Community Engagement: Department staff actively participated in the Downtown Elk River Business Association (DERBA) meetings, gaining valuable insights into the local business community's needs.
  • Sherburne County Connect: Staff played a significant role in supporting"Sherburne County Connect," a platform for collaboration and information sharing among economic development personnel across the county.
  • Supporting Sustainability: Economic Development staff assisted in the organization of Recharge MN's Elk River ElectriFUNcation & EV Test Drive Event, promoting electric vehicles and sustainable practices. The EDA was a significant sponsor of this event.

Development Projects Take Shape

  • 2023 witnessed significant development projects propelling Elk River's growth:
    Elk River Meats: The HRA demolished the former building and transformed the parcel into a temporary green space, with plans for future redevelopment.
  • Residential Growth: Construction commenced on a 52-unit apartment building on Twin Lakes Road, along with the completion of one of the two 90-unit apartment buildings on the old Saxon Motors site.
  • Business Expansion: Building Products, Inc. expanded into the Twin Cities market, Plants and Things constructed a new showroom, Quick Lane at Cornerstone Auto opened a new service facility, and JonnyPops celebrated their official ribbon-cutting ceremony.
  • Other Developments: Beaudry Oil initiated construction on a new facility, McDonald's underwent a modern makeover, and Avery's Adventures, a family-owned indoor playground, opened its doors.

Properties Available for Future Development

The EDA and HRA actively marketed their available properties throughout the year:

  • Natures Edge Business Center: The Northwest site at Natures Edge I garnered strong interest, with negotiations aiming for closure in 2024. Marketing efforts continued for the available land at Nature's Edge III.
  • Fox Haven and Main & Gates: Marketing efforts remained ongoing for these properties, with the Main & Gates property receiving a purchase agreement that ultimately did not close. However, there remains strong interest in the site as staff continue to market it.

Building Permits Reflecting Growth

Building permits issued in 2023 showcased continued economic activity:

  • Commercial Permits: The valuation surpassed $50 million, demonstrating a sustained level of commercial development compared to previous years.
  • Residential Permits: Residential permits reached nearly $37 million, indicating a healthy housing market.

Dedicated Staff Supporting Growth

The City of Elk River Economic Development Department’s dedicated staff, led by Economic Development Director Brent O'Neil and Economic Development Specialist Josh Mollan, played an integral role in achieving some of these accomplishments. Their efforts included:

  • Responding to inquiries from businesses and residents.
  • Collaborating with DERBA, Elk River Area Chamber, and Sherburne County.
  • Participating in ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
  • Leading department committees.
  • Marketing resources to existing and potential businesses and residents.
  • Conducting business visits.
  • Attending economic development events and training sessions.

Overall, 2023 proved to be a year of progress for Elk River's economic development. The collaborative efforts of the EDA, HRA, local businesses, and residents have laid a strong foundation for continued growth and prosperity in the years to come. The Elk River Economic Development Department is proud to support the growth and development of such a strong and welcoming community. Contact us today to get involved or learn how we can help you succeed!

To read the 2023 HRA and EDA Annual Summary, click here.