Fergus Falls city officials have agreed to allow a developer from Georgia to convert a vacant regional treatment center into a $41 million facility featuring apartments, a hotel, a gym, and restaurants.
The Kirkbride hospital was built in the 1890s. The structure has been a long-standing controversy in Fergus Falls, with some wanting the structure torn down, while others favored renovation and development.
• Ground Level: Fergus Falls settles on plan for historic mental hospital
"It's easy to get kind of disillusioned and say, 'Who can make anything of all the square footage in a town of 14,000 people in rural Minnesota?'" Fergus Falls City Administrator Mark Sivert said. "I think a lot of just didn't have that vision and fortunately, there were others that just kept pushing that and did and could convince the council that 'Yeah, this is the direction to go.'"
The city plans to sell the 35-acre site to Historic Properties for $1, and the project is expected to bring 190 permanent jobs to the city, Sivert said.
Renovations are expected to begin in 2014.
MPR News is Reader Funded
Before you keep reading, take a moment to donate to MPR News. Your financial support ensures that factual and trusted news and context remain accessible to all.