A potential buyer of the city-owned “old fire hall” lot on Dodd Road opted out of a purchase agreement, leaving the lot adjacent to Fischerville Coffee House vacant.
David and Susan Perkins, owners of the catering company Complete Beverage Service, had intended to buy the city lot at 2156 Dodd Road, along with the Fischerville building, to build an “Applebee’s-type” bar and grill, as David Perkins described it.
Perkins said that after initial resistance to changing the zoning of the lot from residential to business, the city was cooperative with Complete Beverage, agreeing to sell them the lot for $50,000.
Perkins said the deal fell apart because Drake Bank, which owns the Fischerville building, declined the Perkins’ offer for the building.
“We wanted to keep the offer as low as possible because of all the remodeling and hurricane-proofing and you-name-it,” he said. “If we were going to put a restaurant in, we were going to clean up lighting, fencing. You’re talking 300 grand easily.”
John Mazzitello, Mendota Heights’s interim city administrator, said the city would re-list the lot on the market.
“We’ll probably wait until spring because people don’t look for vacant lots during the winter,” he said.
Mendota Heights was initially hesitant toward rezoning the lot from residential to commercial.
In April, Mayor Sandra Krebsbach said a commercial lot could be disruptive to residents.
“I do not feel it’s an appropriate use of the site,” Krebsbach said at the time. “Two sides of the lot are residential, and hours of operation for the pub could be as late as 1 a.m.”
But Perkins said that zoning issues with the city had been resolved.
“They started off like ‘myeah’—not too excited about it—but then they came around and said ‘We want you in our city,’ and ‘We want this’ and ‘We want that,’” he said. “We got to be pretty good friends with them. The city was backing us and sending letters to the bank and doing whatever they could.”
Mazzitello said Mendota Heights would still be willing to consider rezoning the lot to commercial.
“But if somebody wanted to buy it and put a home on it, we would entertain that as well,” he said.