2020 was a mammoth year for new buildings and expansion in Owatonna. How will 2021 compare? Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism (OACCT) president Brad Meier addressed that topic in a blog post through the chamber's weekly e-newsletter Tuesday Talk.

Meier wrote, "The economic development fortunes, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, has been remarkable for the Owatonna area in 2020. A record $104 million in new building for exceeded any prior year in our community."

He foresees another big year in 2021, highlighting three examples, "Transformation will take place downtown this summer as a new Marriott Courtyard and apartment complex come out of the ground...The new Owatonna High School. This $120 million-plus project ($22 million-plus in private donations) starts construction this year...Bosch distribution center-this 265,000 square-foot building is one of multiple projects planned for completion in the industrial park."

Tuesday Talk reported approvals from the February 16 Owatonna City Council meeting, "The new downtown apartment project (The Pearl) and new Owatonna High School projects both jumped the next hurdles."

"For the apartments, a modification to the tax increment financing agreement were approved including $1.8 million in improvements and $609,500 to reimburse city for site purchases (houses and demolition). This project is set to start in June in conjuction with the hotel project."

"Owatonna High School received approvals on the preliminary plat, sign and fence variances, and approval of site plan to construct the project. Construction is expected to begin this spring."

Meier further stated, "Owatonna has appeal. Outstate space, instate amenities. Small town quality of like, big city opportunities. Commutes take minutes, not hours. Well placed, well paced."

2020's development included Rise Modular, the Costco Depot, Bushel Boys greenhouse expansion, Minimizer, Revol Greens expansion, and Daikin's warehouse and distribution center, according to Meier.

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