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Spam Museum to get new can in downtown Austin

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The Spam Museum is packing up and heading a few blocks south, to a brand new building in downtown Austin, Minnesota.

The Austin City Council approved a private redevelopment deal with Hormel Monday that shifts ownership of a downtown lot over to the company for the sole purpose of building a new Spam Museum, the Austin Daily Herald reports.

The new development is slated to take over what's known as the "fire site" – a chunk of land between 2nd Avenue and 4th Avenue along Main Street. The site's previous buildings were destroyed by a fire years ago, the Rochester Post-Bulletin explains.

According to the agreement – which you can read in full here – the building itself must be designed to fit within the downtown area's current look and be completed within three years. Some other terms of the deal:

  • If the building is not finished within three years, the city can take back ownership of the land and Hormel must reimburse the city and Port of Austin for any expenses it the two entities paid as part of the project.
  • Hormel must spend at least $3.5 million on the project, and the site can only be used for the Spam Museum.

On the other side, the city of Austin and the port must complete the following (among other things):

  • Raze existing structures and remove any hazardous material, by the end of the 2014.
  • Re-establish 3rd Avenue Northeast as a one-way street, with accommodation for buses and to act as a loading area. There will also be bus/RV parking.
  • Allow a Hormel statue to be placed on the property, at Hormel's discretion.

The estimated cost for the improvements is about $537,000. Hormel says the project is eligible for a Minnesota Department of Employment redevelopment grant that would cover half of the costs, which will be applied for. But the grant, Hormel says, is "very competitive."

According to the Post-Bulletin, the city hopes the Spam Museum will act as an "anchor" for the downtown area. Hormel plans to open the museum in spring of 2016.

Rumblings of a move to the fire site have been around for a couple of months now.

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