MANKATO — A 71-acre farm field at the intersection of two of Mankato’s busiest roads has been annexed into the city and is on the verge of being developed, although the initial focus of the development is shifting.
Victory Commercial Park is to ultimately bring a mix of business and residential uses to the junction of Highway 14 and North Victory Drive, long considered one of Mankato’s most attractive parcels — offering a prime location and enough space for even the largest retailer.
But when the project was brought to the City Council for a land-use amendment in the fall of 2022 by developer Brett Skilbred, the immediate plans had shifted to residential. Tentative plans showed five three-story apartment buildings totaling 374 units with covered parking and surface lots sufficient for 974 vehicles. A line of 40 townhouses was planned to the north of the apartment complex to provide a buffer of lower-density housing between the multi-story apartment buildings and the existing single-family homes on Torrey Pines Drive.
A year later, commercial development is again the immediate priority with apartments being left for a future phase, according to Mark Konz, associate director of planning for the city.
“The southern portion of the property is where the commercial development will be, along the Highway 14 area and then wrapping around the Victory Drive portion of the property,” Konz told the City Council Monday night. “… That’s what the developer is interested in developing at this time.”
Potential tenants haven’t been revealed, but Dain Fisher of Coldwell Banker Commercial Fisher Group, which has been hired as the brokerage agent for the project, said the location is generating keen interest. Fisher said he would be making calls to clients as soon as the council approved the annexation, rezoning and final plat for the project, which it did unanimously.
“It sat for 20 years. It is now ready to go,” Fisher said. “… We have some great ideas. We have a bunch of traction moving in the right direction, and we feel really good about it.”
Access to the initial businesses will be via a new street — Hazeltine Road — connecting to North Victory Drive just northeast of the intersection with Highway 14. The new intersection will include traffic lights, Konz said.
More extensive road expansions, including connections from the development area to St. Andrew’s Drive, will be needed with the future addition of the apartment buildings or if an extremely popular business is included in the initial commercial development, he said. Those issues and others will need to be negotiated with the city as each future phase of the development is ready to move forward.