ST. CLOUD -- Demolition crews are starting to tear down the vacant buildings at the corner of Cooper Avenue and Division Street in St. Cloud.

Bob Strack is a co-developer on the project. He says redeveloping that site is something they've been working on for nearly two decades.

Back in 1999 and 2000 Chuck Sandvig and myself were the partners in an entity we formed to develop this corner and we had advanced a project called Cooper Avenue Uptown and got it through the city council.

However, Strack says the removal of the Xcel Energy substation on that site had always made the project too cost prohibitive. That changed last year when the St. Cloud City Council raised the Xcel Energy franchise fee to pay for its removal.

Strack says they're in the process of demolishing 11 buildings right now. It will take most of this year for the substation to be gone.

As for the future of that site, Strack says what will eventually be built there remains to be seen.

The project we had advanced in 2000 will not be the same project.  It was a mix of retail and office.  Things have changed in 18 years.  Brick and mortar is not what it was then.  We're re-evaluating what the best use will be for that corner.