Many a deal have been made on the golf course. A recent interaction could be the start of another, the question is if there is a deal to actually be had at this point?
During the August 17 Finance Committee meeting, Mayor Paul Isakson said he had been approached by someone who is interested in purchasing the current City Hall building.
“I was at the golf course a couple Thursdays ago and a local business person came up and asked what we are going to do with the City Hall building. I said, ‘We are going to sell it.’ He asked how much we wanted for it and I thought he was joking and I laughed and said a dollar, of course joking. Well he came today and toured the building. He has 68 employees to move in as soon as we can vacate. He would like to come up with an agreement with the City on a price and he would like to get the roof fixed this fall. So, he just wants to know the thoughts of the Finance Committee,” said Isakson.
“It sounds like he needs to write an offer,” said committee member Tim Strohbush.
Isakson asked, “Is this something we have to put up for bid?”
“Well, we haven’t officially said it is for sale, but does that matter if someone is going to give us an offer to buy it?” said committee member Sarah Flanum.
Strohbush said he thought that was a legal question that needed to be asked to City Attorney Paul Mahler. “But if he wants to make an offer on it, we need something in writing,” said Strohbush.
Flanum agreed they need a little more information and it was decided Patty Bjorklund, Interim City Administrator/City Clerk-Treasurer, would contact Mahler.
Flanum also said there should be some discussion about what the future holds for the building, such as whether or not the City could use it for something.
Later that evening during a Special meeting of the Common Council, the topic was discussed again. Council member Chad Leonard said, “In my opinion it doesn’t matter what the attorney says about making it known or not, in the spirit of transparency and openness we need to say that the building is for sale and open it up to everyone and anyone. It is the right thing to do.”
Flanum said that as a council they should talk about the future plans for the building. “We have talked about vacating it, but have never formally talked about what to do with it, such as what would it cost repair the roof and make it ADA accessible,” she said.
Tim Strohbush said, “Since buying the Bremer building, part of the whole concept behind it was to put everything under one roof, it would not make sense to maintain this building plus the expense of the building. We will not get any return of investment if we put in a quarter million into the roof. My recommendation is to put it up for sale but I just don’t know if we are ready to do that because we do not have anyplace to go yet. I agree with Chad that when we are ready, we need to put it out for bids, but I think we are still a year or more away from moving.”
“Sarah also brings up a good point of is selling what we want to do,” said Leonard.
Isakson said, “Well, I can still have the interested party put forth an offer and it might be something we want to accept if it is up for sale first. Do we want to post it For Sale?”
Council member Eric Elkin said, “I think we need to figure out how it is going to be offered for sale, such as, ‘As Is.’ At this point we do not know enough to be able to be transparent and let people know it is for sale. They are going to know now because we are talking about it and it might get some interest or ideas, but we need to find out the legal responsibilities and maybe we need to talk to a broker to find out the best way to have a sale and be able to walk away without liabilities.”
With that it was tabled for further information.