ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Tax-forfeited land goes on sale June 11

In St. Louis County, we have approximately 900,000 acres of state tax-forfeited land. That's almost 20 percent of the county's total area. It's the job of the Land and Minerals Department to manage that land. Most of it we keep for forest managem...

1773250+0607.DBN_.Mark-Weber-002.jpg

In St. Louis County, we have approximately 900,000 acres of state tax-forfeited land. That's almost 20 percent of the county's total area.

It's the job of the Land and Minerals Department to manage that land. Most of it we keep for forest management, but we are always looking for opportunities to resell and develop properties, if that's their best use. We want those parcels back on the property tax rolls.

Three times a year we offer a public land auction of tax-forfeited properties. In fact, there's one coming up 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 11 at the Depot.

This week's sale is particularly significant for several reasons. In terms of the value of the land, it's the largest we've ever offered. It includes a large property on Park Point as well as several large properties in the Morgan Park and Gary-New Duluth.

The St. Louis County Board approved the list for sale earlier this spring. There are 36 properties in all, countywide. Most are residential, but there a few commercial or recreational (hunting land) properties, as well. You can view them all on our website . If you're interested in bidding at the auction, the website provides additional information on the process as well as a complete catalog of available properties.

ADVERTISEMENT

St. Louis County has been working in partnership with City of Duluth staff to identify and group parcels that could be sold and redeveloped. Some are ideal for an individual or family looking to build a home. Others are larger and can be subdivided, making them appealing to developers. This includes buildable lots on Commonwealth Avenue, Gary Street and 88th Avenue West. For each of these sites, to make it easier for buyers and developers to envision their possibilities, we've developed listings that identify how they are zoned and what utilities are available.

Some of the lots have always stood empty, but others, such as a property on 58th Avenue West south of Redruth Street, have been cleaned up to improve their value and make them easier to sell. Structures that once stood on the site were demolished this past January, leaving a large vacant lot that's now ready for a new home to be built.

The highest-valued property by far is a 3.1-acre lot on Park Point. The property has 200 feet of sandy shoreline on the bay side and the starting bid based on the appraised value is $749,500. This lot could be subdivided and used for single family homes, duplexes or townhomes.

The June 11 auction is the first opportunity for people to bid on these properties, but it's not necessarily the only chance. If no one bids on a particular lot, then it's added to the list of properties that can be purchased at any time for the appraised price. If you're curious, check out our website because there are approximately 85 properties throughout the county currently for sale.

How did we come to get these properties in the first place? These are properties that once were owned by others, but were forfeited due to failure to pay property taxes. Trust me when I say that seizing a property is a last resort. We don't want to be in the real estate business. Some of the properties being offered this week were forfeited back in the 1930s. By selling them, we expand the property tax base.

For some tax-forfeited properties, based on their remote location, the best use is as habitat for wildlife, or as a recreational area for county residents and visitors. This land also, when managed wisely, can be a source for timber. St. Louis County allows logging on some of these lands and then reforests the land, planting an average of 1 million trees every year.

Again, you can learn more about the work that we do and the upcoming land sale at stlouiscountymn.gov/sites .

Mark Weber is the director of the St. Louis County Land and Minerals Department.

What To Read Next