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Construction underway on VA Clinic

Construction is underway on a new multi-million dollar building on East Main Street in Albert Lea that will house a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs community-based outpatient clinic.

The facility, which is expected to be 10,070 square feet, is scheduled to open in January, according to Catalyst Capitol Holdings LLC, a Los Angeles-based real estate investment and management firm that acquires, develops and finances properties with long-term leases to the U.S. government.

The firm stated on its website the property was purchased in May, and construction began in June on 1.32 acres of land at 2115 E. Main St. A small building that was on the site has been torn down, and the new building will be constructed. It will sit east of Auto Zone.

Minneapolis VA Health Care System Public Affairs Specialist Sandra Roy said the VA will lease the property from Purple Heart Heroes LLC of Los Angeles. The VA has a 20-year lease with the capability of terminating after 10 years.

The current VA clinic, at Skyline Plaza, has about 6,900 square feet of space. The clinic opened there in April 2014.

The clinic provides primary care, mental health services, telemedicine and other health care services to U.S. veterans.

Stephen Selby, managing director of real estate for 18 Squared GP LLC, which provided equity for the project with Capzone Impact Investments LLC, said the project is estimated at $6 million in its entirety.

18Squared and CapZone formed the Opportunity Zone Fund 1-Government Series to invest in U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs clinics and hospitals and other government-related real estate projects in opportunity zones nationwide, a press release stated. Qualified opportunity zones are areas designated as economically distressed where new investments may be eligible for preferential tax treatment, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

A press release from the two companies stated the Albert Lea VA Clinic is the first facility in a portfolio of VA-leased properties within the fund that are expected to be closed over the next 12 to 24 months. Future fund investments will focus on VA medical education and training campuses and off-base military housing for U.S. military bases.

Selby said he expected there to be an increase in jobs at the new site because the building will be substantially bigger. The facility employs positions such as nurses, doctors, technicians and administration, many of which he assumed would transfer over from the new site.