EDA buys a building for a pod daycare center | News, Sports, Jobs


In an effort to address the area’s shortage of daycare centers, the EDA purchased the vacant Upper Midwest Management building at 1314 Westridge Road to develop a pod-system daycare center, with the seller promising $5,000 to the daycare initiative.

NEW ULM – A purchase agreement has been reached for the New Ulm Economic Development Authority to purchase the building at 1314 Westridge Road to create community child care space.

EDA submitted a purchase agreement last week and received a counteroffer. The EDA board met behind closed doors on Monday to discuss the offer and agreed to buy the building for $390,000.

Housing Coordinator Heather Bregel said that, including rehabilitation work, this project will cost the EDA approximately $500,000. Real estate salespeople Jim and Greg Thomas of Upper Midwest Management have agreed to pledge $5,000 to the child care initiative. The EDA received a grant of $30,000 for the rehabilitation of the building.

The plan is to operate a modular system child care center, using the building as a common space for up to four home child care providers. Four child care providers would operate separate businesses, but share space and resources. The capsule model is beneficial for home child care providers who want to run a day care center but don’t have the space or resources in their own home.

The daycare pod system is relatively new. Only six pod daycares operate in Minnesota. The EDA hopes this pod daycare will serve as a model for others.

The pod model is faster to establish than a new daycare because daycares must receive state approval. Home/family daycare licenses and the pod model only require a county license. Child care centers have recently had difficulty with staff.

The city has identified two vendors who are willing to lease space for a child care business. Bregel said an application and lease agreement will be developed for those interested in operating a daycare from this location. The EDA will also work with a 501-C3 nonprofit organization to launch a fundraising campaign for the building.

The goal is to have the building ready and functioning as a modular system daycare center by early 2023.

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