One of the oft-repeated histrionic claims we’re hearing in the push the Red Wing City Council to approve Blue Water Farm’s “offer” is that the old Central Research Building has been sitting vacant for 17 years. For example, Mayor Wilson said, IN WRITING (full Letter to Editor below):

First, “land” v. building:

Note Mayor Wilson did say “land,” but there are TWO parcels at Hwy 61/19. The “offer” for which they’re pushing for approval is the parcel with the BUILDING, the “250 State Hwy 19” PIN 55.729.0100 parcel, not the empty land parcel:

So… which is it… is this “it’s been vacant for 17 years” cry a statement about the undeveloped land, for which there was no offer, or is it about the built parcel, the subject of the “offer” that was before the Red Wing Port Authority and before the Red Wing City Council last Monday, May 2? What is all the hub-ub about? They’d been hollering for approval of the “offer,” and that means the “250 State Hwy 19” PIN 55.729.0100 parcel.

Do they not know there are two parcels? Do they not know which parcel is at issue?

This is not rocket science.

Here in red is the parcel subject to the “offer” of Blue Water Farms, PIN 55.729.0100:

… and the parcel surrounding it is the vacant land, PIN 55.729.0060:

Second, given two parcels, is the push focused on a solar grant deadline, and is it focused on the wrong parcel?

Rumor has it that the “urgency” to ram this “offer” through is wanting to submit a grant application for solar on the land, but is the offer for PIN 55.729.0100 even suitable for a lot of solar? Again, does the promoter making the “offer” know which parcel is which? Do the vocal folks know there are two parcels, and do they know that the parcel with the building was the one with the “offer” that was before Port Authority and City Council? Hmmmmmm… It’s just not adding up.

Next, the false mantra. It’s NOT been vacant for 17 years — look at occupancy of 250 State Highway 19 – PIN 55.729.0100:

Mayor Wilson says “Land on the corner of Highways 61 and 19 has been vacant for 17 long years…” FALSE!

Here’s the scoop..

The property was purchased by City of Red Wing, for way too much dough. I have no clue why they would pay so much for this, why “buy” it in the first place — it looks like corporate welfare to me!

Anyway, let’s look at Osemi, Inc. The property purchased by the City of Red Wing in 2007, and in 2007, same year it was purchased by Red Wing, Osemi leased it. There was a Memorandum of Understanding with the Port Authority to negotiate a sale, and negotiations regarding purchase of the property were ongoing, but that didn’t happen. It went downhill from there. From the Appellate decisions below, Osemi was grasping at straws and making a lot of arguments that didn’t cut it legally, and there’s even an Osemi “no show” in there too:

What’s weird is that a decade later, the Osemi website still lists 250 State Hwy 19 as their address:

The “sister” company in Canada, OSEMI Canada Inc., has a website too:


Anyway, advocates for Blue Water Farms, please get it right and stop the “vacant for 17 years” mantra. That’s just not true! Osemi was in there from 2007 until eviction in 2012.

And a review of the Osemi experience explains why due diligence is necessary, and why each project proponent must provide financial information and everything needs to be vetted and verified. DUE DILIGENCE – THAT’S THE PORT AUTHORITY’S JOB! City of Red Wing doesn’t need another 3-4 years of litigation effort and expense!

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