The city of Hancock will seek resident input on whether the city should acquire three Finlandia buildings. Mannerheim, Nikander, and Wargelin halls each do not have a lien holder. If the state receiver’s motion to abandon the remaining properties receives approval from the court, the buildings would revert to the university. The City hopes to acquire the properties to maintain the locations for potential developments, rather than the structures left to deteriorate.
“It’d be like they’re owned by somebody, but they’re not owned. And it would restrict any kind of access to the buildings, and possibly leave them be further blighted. Plus people maybe could get in there. Into the buildings and cause damage. So that is one of the main reasons why the city of Hancock is looking at purchasing the buildings.” Mary Babcock, City Manager, City of Hancock
If the state receiver abandons the buildings Mannerheim, Nikander, and Wargelin halls would essentially be foreclosed upon. And would require a lengthy process for a future developer to take ownership. If the city were to take action quickly after the sites are abandoned, Hancock could begin to winterize the structures.
“We are currently looking at them because they are in threat of being abandoned by the state’s receiver. And when a building is abandoned that will leave that property in Finlandia University’s name. And it would take a minimum of four years. Upwards of maybe five years to change that, and get that out of Finlandia’s name.” Mary Babcock, City Manager, City of Hancock
City Manager Mary Babcock says that the city may be able to purchase the buildings for 10,000 dollars each. Partnered with the city’s ability to aid with acquiring grants a developer would have a lower cost of entry. Babcock says that the city does not have plans to develop the sites on its own. One building was a former dorm and might easily be converted to a housing development. But she says there aren’t many ideas out there right now.
“We don’t want to make money, we want to help develop them. And anything that we can do for future grant opportunities we’ll have our pulse on to try to facilitate and enable a developer to come in. We have been working with Representative Jack Bergman’s office on this process with the receivership. It’s a tough position because you can’t get too much grant funding unless you have a project.” Mary Babcock, City Manger, City of Hancock
Hancock will hold a public hearing for the public to provide input on the city’s plans to acquire three Finlandia University properties on October 17th at 6 pm in the city council chambers, at city hall, located on Quincy Street. If you want to hear more about the city’s plans with Mannerheim, Nikander, and Wargelin halls find out more with Todd Van Dyke on last week’s episode of the Copper Country Today. Find the episode here.