Budding small businesses may fill soon-to-be-vacant Cottage Grove City HallOfficials have begun working on a plan that would transform the current city hall building on 80th Street into what they are calling a business incubator, a building that would house start-up businesses in need of more space to continue expanding.
Late this year, Cottage Grove is set to move its city offices and Public Safety Department to a gleaming, new, 67,000 sq. ft. municipal building, leaving behind cramped quarters where its staff has worked since the mid-1960s.
But what becomes of the current City Hall after the move? Economic development officials think they’ve found an answer that could give small businesses room to grow in Cottage Grove.
Officials have begun working on a plan that would transform the current city hall building on 80th Street into what they are calling a business incubator, a building that would house start-up businesses in need of more space to continue expanding.
There are currently hundreds of small businesses operating in Cottage Grove “that might be operating out of their home office or basement or garage,” said City Administrator Ryan Schroeder. A business incubator would offer them a step between the home and a full-blown office, he said.
Here’s how the plan, discussed over the past few months by the city’s Economic Development Authority, would work: The EDA would purchase the building from the city using existing authority funds, then lease the building to a private company who would, in turn, lease space to interested business owners.
The goal, Mayor Myron Bailey recently said, is to give local small businesses a launching pad and to lure new business – and jobs – to Cottage Grove. He said he envisions a wide range of businesses utilizing the space if the incubator comes to fruition.
“Everything from biotech, all the way to electronics, to some light manufacturing” could take advantage of the venture, Bailey said. “But it could be as much as somebody starting a maid service or a window cleaning service, where they need a basic office and go from there.”
The EDA earlier this month directed city staff to seek an independent appraisal of the building’s worth to ensure the plan is financially viable, Bailey said.
The City Council will consider the proposal later this year.