More apartment, townhouse plans seeking city permits

Mar. 12—MANKATO — Even with rising interest rates and economic uncertainty, permit applications for new townhouses and apartment buildings are continuing to flow into the city of Mankato.

City staff are reviewing the conversion of a longtime daycare center near Minnesota State University into apartments. And this month's Planning Commission agenda is likely to include more residential development east of Highway 22 and north of Prairie Winds Middle School.

The new projects are in addition to numerous other residential projects, largely rental units and townhouses, already permitted or under construction.


A vacant building at 103 Homestead Road that has been home to a fitness center, a combination fitness center/daycare and just a daycare center would be converted into an apartment building totaling 20 units under a preliminary plan being reviewed by the city.

Located along Monks Avenue a block south of All Seasons Arena, the 11,200-square-foot building was built in 1979 and was once called X Force Fitness and later shared space with Child's Planet Early Learning Center. Olson and Olson Properties LLC purchased the building in 2018 for $755,000 and operated Lil' Bees Learning Center.

Lil' Bees is now located on Bassett Drive.

Designs show 10 apartments on the lower floor and another 10 on the upper floor of the Homestead Road building.


The rapid conversion of Mankato's east side from farmland to residential neighborhoods, with a bit of commercial development mixed in, doesn't seem to be slowing down.

It was just six years ago that the city and Blue Earth County were preparing to break ground on about $16 million in road extensions to open up the area east of Highway 22 in the area around the new middle school, which had opened in the fall of 2016. Hundreds of units of housing have since been constructed, and more are now seeking permits.

A fourth apartment building is being proposed at Prairie Rose Drive on the southwest quadrant of the Hoffman Road-Prairie Winds Drive intersection. The three-story 41-unit apartment building would join a 36-unit building constructed in 2018 and 39-unit buildings added in 2021 and 2022. The complex, called Prairie Rose Apartments, is owned by Ohana Properties LLC, which is requesting a conditional use permit for the 2023 project.

Just to the east on the other side of Prairie Winds Drive, Drummer Land Investments is proposing a planned unit development made up of 10 buildings containing 20 two-level townhouses. Known as Wilson Creek Townhomes, the project would be built on 2.3 acres.


One of the largest potential developments in Mankato continues a methodical trip through the city permitting process.

A preliminary plat for "Victory Commercial Park" is likely to land on the Planning Commission's March 22 agenda, encompassing the nonresidential piece of the planned construction of housing and commercial space on 63 acres in a prime location at the intersection of Highway 14 and North Victory Drive.

The plat includes 13 commercial lots on the portion of the parcel adjacent to Victory and to Highway 14. Another six commercial lots could be added in a future phase of development.

In November, developer Brent Skilbred obtained an amendment to the city's land use plan allowing residential development on the portion of the property farther from the roadways.

That portion of the project is to include five large apartment buildings totaling 374 units plus up to 62 townhouses on the northern end of the property adjacent to an existing residential neighborhood.