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WINONA, Minn. (AP) — Developers hope a $25 million project in downtown Winona will help provide housing and early childhood education.

The Main Square Community project will involve multiple building on a currently unoccupied block, the Winona Daily News reported. The project will be developed by Main Square Development, which is owned by Fastenal founder Bob Kierlin.

A Montessori school for toddlers and preschoolers will occupy one portion of the land. Kierlin’s Hiawatha Education Foundation is negotiating with Cotter Schools to operate the new school.

Organizers plan to have the school open to all income levels, with some students paying tuition and others receiving financial assistance. The school will also operate longer days to accommodate working families.

The lot will also include apartment buildings, commercial space and underground parking.

The project addresses multiple needs, particularly the city’s goals of creating more rental housing options and improving childcare, Kierlin said.

The plans are “setting the bar high for redevelopment” in the area, said city manager Steve Sarvi.

“We’re also adding to the energy downtown,” he said.

The project is fully funded and will only need funds to clear the site. The Winona Port Authority must still approve the lot’s $1.9 million sale.

The first phase of construction is expected to begin this summer and will include 60 housing units, commercial space and the school. The first phase is expected to be complete by 2019.

The second phase will include up to 30 more apartments and doesn’t yet have a construction start time.


Information from: Winona Daily News,