Judge approves Ramsey County bid for Vadnais Sports Center

Last week, Ramsey County secured its place in the “state of hockey” after a probate court judge allowed the county to purchase the Vadnais Sports Center, a complex that houses two ice arenas and seating for more than a thousand spectators, among other amenities.

U.S. Bank, on behalf of the facility’s private investors, submitted a request to sell the building to the county in March.

Despite grievances from several bondholders, Judge David Higgs approved the request April 29.

Vadnais Sports Center, which cost $26.5 million to construct in 2010, was put on the market in July 2013 after falling short of financial goals for three years. 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 $13 million, about half its original cost. Ramsey County offered $10.55 million in cash for the building, which it plans to use as an ice rink to alleviate the demand for ice time by local hockey teams and figure skaters.

The county made a $250,000 cash deposit on the sports complex when it signed a letter of intent to buy the building in March.

Two other organizations put in higher bids for the facility, but neither bidder could come up with the financing in time to meet purchase deadlines.

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.

The county hopes to close on the purchase at the end of June.

—Johanna Holub

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