SAUK RAPIDS (WJON News) -- A new office building has been proposed for Benton Drive in Sauk Rapids, but first, the potential builder wants a variance approved.

The office building at 620 Benton Drive North would be on property currently owned by the Sauk Rapids EDA after they bought a home there and had it removed in 2018. The property has been on the market since then.

The building would be 2,500 square feet with nine offices, a conference room, and a breakroom.

The developer says the project is cost-prohibitive if they are required to build a two-story building or make it appear two-story, which is required by city ordinance for the downtown. The city has adhered to a two-story concept for corner lots since 2005, especially in the core downtown. However, the city has held to a lesser standard in the more fringe downtown.

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The city says taller buildings near the street make the street feel smaller and tend to slow traffic down.  It also creates more of a downtown, pedestrian-friendly feel as opposed to the old model created by suburban strip malls popular during the 1980s and 1990s.

The Sauk Rapids Planning Commission approved the variance request during its meeting on Monday, December 4th.  It request now moves on to the city council for its approval on Monday, December 11th.  

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