Manufacturer hopes to buy part of city lot for expansion

CDI hopes to buy part of this vacant lot from the city.

by Joni Astrup
Associate editor
An Elk River manufacturer looking to expand hopes to buy part of a city-owned lot to make that happen.
Crystal Distribution Inc., or CDI, is located on a 3.7-acre lot at 17560 Tyler St. in the Northstar Business Park. The company’s building is now about 30,000 square feet in size, but company officials would like to add another 30,000 square feet.
The current lot is too small for an expansion of that size but if CDI can buy a piece of a city-owned lot to the north, there would be enough room.
The Elk River Economic Development Authority (EDA) discussed it Monday, Oct. 10. A majority appears willing to consider splitting the city’s lot as long as the piece of land that’s left is still buildable and the city and CDI can work out details related to the cost of a new frontage road, sewer and water accessibility to the remainder of the lot and moving a storm sewer line. Total cost of those items is estimated at $168,000.
The EDA directed its staff to explore the matter further and report back.
The EDA also agreed to have an appraisal done on the city lot. The lot is 12 acres in size; nine acres are developable.
The city has sold land in the Northstar Business Park for $2 a square foot in the past, but the appraisal will let the city know if that is still the going rate.
The 12-acre lot in question was once a potential site for a YMCA, but that ended up being built on the west end of Elk River. More recently, Spectrum charter school asked to put an athletic dome on part of the lot. The City Council turned down that request, primarily to keep the lot open for future industrial development.

About Crystal Distribution Inc.
•Established in 1994, CDI primarily fabricates sheet metal into custom curb adapters which are sold to heating, ventilation and air conditioning distributors in the United States and Canada.
•The company is owned and managed by Pat O’Brien and his wife, Bobbi Jo.
•CDI employs more than 100 full-time staff.
•CDI relocated to Elk River in 2005 and built its current facility.
Source: City of Elk River