The former Jimmy’s Diner at 150 Minot Avenue in Auburn, seen on March 5 will be demolished for future intersection overhaul. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

AUBURN — The city will purchase and demolish the vacant buildings at 150 Minot Ave. and plans to use the land as part of a future overhaul of the intersection with Elm Street.

The City Council authorized the city manager to enter into a purchase and sale agreement with the owners of the property Monday, with the city planning to use Community Development Block Grant funding for the purchase.

According to a city memo, the portion of the property that abuts Elm Street has been identified as a “desirable acquisition” for the future realignment of the intersection of Minot Avenue and Elm Street, as well as additional pedestrian safety improvements.

Once complete, the remainder of the property is expected to be sold by the city “for future economic development activities.”

During the City Council meeting Monday, Mayor Jeff Harmon said the property formerly housed Jimmy’s Diner on Minot Avenue and Webster Trading Post on the Elm Street side.

Harmon and other councilors said they supported the decision because two Auburn planning documents also support removing blight and spurring redevelopment of the Minot Avenue corridor.

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The city’s Comprehensive Plan calls for “improving the visual environment of the outer portion of the Minot Avenue commercial corridor while accommodating a wide range of nonresidential uses,” and “to allow this area to evolve into an attractive gateway to the city.”

“This needs to be done and done soon,” Councilor Leroy Walker said.

The city did not disclose a purchase price.

Also on Monday, the council approved selling the lots at 14-16 Newbury St. for $25,000. Staff said the new owner of the quarter-acre area plans to develop housing.

The council also unanimously approved a resolution providing the Planning Board with additional information as to why it would like to delay the rezoning of 60 acres off Gracelawn Road.

The land owned by John Gendron, which features a gravel pit, has been a central part of an ongoing debate over Lake Auburn protections, and officials are attempting to delay a zone change that would allow development.

No one from the council commented on the vote Monday.

The Planning Board is expected to take up the issue during its March 12 meeting.

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