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Ramsey County moves forward with Vadnais Heights Sports Center purchase
County deposits quarter million in cash for building
Despite having its bid passed up in October for being too low, Ramsey County recently signed a letter of intent to purchase the Vadnais Heights Sports Center and made a $250,000 deposit on the building.
The sports complex, which cost $26.5 million to construct in 2010, was put on the market in July 2013 after three years of underperforming financially. It was financed with bonds issued by the Vadnais Heights Economic Development Authority.
Community Facilities Partners -- the nonprofit that owns the complex -- put the sports center on the market for half of its original cost. The county offered $10.55 million for the building, which it plans to use as an ice rink.
The facility, which is located near the intersection of Highway 61 and County Road E in Vadnais Heights, houses two regulation hockey rinks with seating for 1,300 spectators, a 100,000-square-foot dome with 1.5 full soccer fields, three batting cages, a 100-meter track, two volleyball courts, concessions, a conference room, offices and an attached sports bar.
Two other bidders offered more for the facility than Ramsey County.
Gem Lake Lodge, LLC, an affiliate of the White Bear Lake Hockey Association, put in a bid of $10.65 million, and Northern Educate VSC LLC, a current tenant of the sports center, offered the highest bid at the asking price of $13 million.
However, Gem Lake Lodge said last month it could not come up with the necessary financing to back its bid, and Northern Educate Hockey Academy failed to submit a letter of intent to purchase the facility by the December 2013 deadline.
Of the three bidders, Ramsey County is the only entity with the ability to pay cash for the full amount of its bid.
Court documents say the county hopes to finalize the purchase, which is subject to approval by a judge, by May 5. A hearing on the sale is scheduled for Monday, April 7, in Ramsey County Probate Court.
-- Johanna Holub