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CLOQUET - After more than seven years of pursuing the land, Cloquet finally got the green light to develop there.
"I think it's a great opportunity, I do think it's a big deal in the City of Cloquet," Cloquet Community Development Director Holly Butcher said.
The agreements are signed and Cloquet is moving forward with developing their gateway into the city.
"It provides us a greater opportunity for the community to represent ourselves," Cloquet City Administrator Brian Fritsinger said.
Cloquet has now obtained site control over 24 acres north of I–35 and east of Highway 33, which means they have permission to market the land for retail commercial development.
"It's a real opportunity for the people that live here and for people that are coming through here and shopping," said Butcher.
Project leaders tell FOX 21 they will leave the vision for the huge parcel up to the developer.
They are looking at a big box concept.
"Maybe more than one big box," said Butcher. “Maybe one big box and maybe some sort of strip development."
"Right now, there are certain things that people need to travel to Duluth to and hopefully this project will be such that it will allow us to keep those people here," said Fritsinger.
But they're being tight lipped about which retailers could possibly move in.
"At this point we don't have official comment on that," said Butcher.
City leaders say economic development has been a priority for years, but the downturn in the economy and lack of space has made it tough.
"We just didn't have anything, either buildings or land with utilities," said Fritsinger.
Having this prime real estate available could not have come at a better time for economic stimulation, when retailers are looking to get back into the game after the recession.
"The spinoff potential to the rest of our business community is pretty significant," said Fritsinger.
The process to find an anchor tenant is already in motion and the goal is to start new construction in the next five years.
Right now DNR offices are on the site and city officials say the plan is to relocate them to Cloquet's business park.