Photo by Robert Williams
The combined downtown demolition of the Sanders and former Seip Drug buildings is moving ahead soon. The buildings’ connection to the post office next door needs to be assessed from the rooftop prior to removal.

Rooftop inspection needed prior to removal

By Robert Willams


The demolition of the Sanders Oil Company and the former Seip Drug building is getting closer to happening according to discussions at the Frazee Economic Development Authority (EDA) Tuesday, March 28.

Community Economic Development Associates’ consultant Don Lorsung was inside the former Seip building with Excavating Contractor Phil Erb and Public Works Supervisor Larry Stephenson on Tuesday. Erb is preparing a quote for the demolition and any potential asbestos removal.

The basement of the Seip building still houses some prescription records and receipts that need to be shredded.

The main issue is the walls that connect to the post office next door.

“He (Erb) felt at the time of demolition they can peel back that roof as they demolish it and pull it down,” said Lorsung.

The basement wall is a poured concrete wall, which is the best possible situation, according to Lorsung’s report. 

“That has to stay in place,” he said.

The walls of the two buildings are flush up against each other. 

Stephenson believes there are basement walls on the front of the Seip building and the west side that will likely have to stay in place. 

Erb was confident that he could complete the demolition, including the Sanders building, which presents its own issue.

“We’re not going to know what, if anything, is underneath until we pull it out,” said Lorsung.

No definitive timeline has been provided on when the demo will occur.

Red Willow Heights

A building permit has been submitted and approved for one of the Becker County forfeiture lots at Red Willow Heights that was recently purchased.

Mayor Mark Flemmer was advertising availability in the development while he attended the 35th annual Home & Sport Show in Detroit Lakes last weekend and met with leaders of the former Habitat for Humanity group who were unaware of open lots in Frazee. 

“They didn’t know we had lots available at the price so they were excited to hear that,” said Flemmer.

The Detroit Lakes nonprofit chapter of Habitat for Humanity was reorganized under a new name The Fuller Center for Housing in 2022.

A multi-lot sale has been discussed, but City Administrator Stephanie Poegel reported that sale has been held up due to the city’s rental density ordinance.

“I really think the city should look at the density ordinance on that because that’s where you’re going to get your teachers to come in,” EDA member Heath Peterson said. “You’re going to have a high enough price point that you’re not going to have an issue with renters.”

The potential buyers wanted the ability to temporarily rent any homes they built if they did not immediately sell.

According to the ordinance, in the single and two-family residential (R-1) zoning district, no more than 10 percent of the lots on any block shall be eligible to obtain a rental unit registration, unless a temporary rental unit registration is granted by the City Council.

Frazee does have a two-year extension in place as the ordinance states, “no property owner shall hold a temporary rental unit registration for the same property for more than two consecutive years. 

“The city council could extend that further if the requirement was there,” said Flemmer. “I don’t think we should necessarily say no to that. I think it’s something we could work with the developer on if they wanted to do it.”

“I just don’t think the density was for that purpose,” said Peterson.

Poegel will continue negotiations with the developer.

According to the mayor, he believes the city council would be willing to work with the two-year timeframe to allow rentals with the intent remaining that the potential properties are to be sold in that time.

A year-long agreement for the purchase of some lots with property management at Partnership to Supply Affordable Housing in Detroit Lakes is close to expiring. Some lots were reserved for the housing division of the Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation.

Wannigan Park

According to a report by EDA chair Hank Ludtke, the Frazee Community Development Corporation (FCDC) is hoping to finalize the purchase of the land for the future regional park in May. Upon the acceptance of state funding, the land ownership would be transferred from the FCDC to the city in September.

The FCDC has received five engineering requests for proposal for early work at the site planned for later this year.