Mandan considers buying former Cass Clay site
The property presently is leased by Associated Milk Producers and subleased to Kemps, which repackages dairy products from Fargo in the former Cass Clay building. The railroad wants to sell the property, but neither AMP nor Kemps wants to buy it. Kemps has asked the city, the only other potential buyer under the law, to purchase the site and lease it to the dairy products company.
Mandan City Administrator Jim Neubauer said the city is determining if it would be best to broker a deal to own the property to keep the Kemps workers in Mandan. He said it would be important to lock in enough land for both access and parking from the property so the city can attract other occupants if Kemps leaves.
He said he is still negotiating enough easements for parking and a future occupant.
The city commission, although not really interested in being a commercial landlord, is willing to consider buying the property and leasing it to Kemps.
The city must answer a number of questions before final consideration, such as the status of easements, access and, of course, the price.
Mandan has seen success in recent years developing commercial property on the south side of Main Street after that property has been liberated from the railroad. In those cases, however, the railroad sold the land to the leaseholders.
The city also obtained a swath of railroad property, from the former Cass Clay building to the former John Iverson building, in a settlement of a lawsuit against BNSF Railway Co. over a diesel fuel spill trapped under downtown. It includes the depot, beanery, park space, city-county library and several retail stores.
The city could purchase the property and lease it to Kemps, purchase the property and resell it to a third party that could lease it to Kemps or sell the property outright, if Kemps would decide to pull up stakes in Mandan.
— Ken Rogers