The deal cleared its last major hurdle Tuesday, when a
The decision pushes the county into a 45-day due diligence period, where staff will review final details before closing on the purchase in late June, when
It looks to be a great deal for a complex that originally cost
"They had plenty of users under the old structure but the debt service was
According to the county's analysis of the arena's financials, the complex is expected to bring in about
Offset by annual expenses estimated at a little less than
"We really feel it's critical that we're planning for the capital replacement side of this because stuff wears out," he said. "This arrangement allows us to prepare for that."
If the estimates prove accurate, taxpayers would get the benefit of a relatively new ice arena without having to pay for it, Huffman said. He added that the county would initially cover the
The arena, which sits on about 15 acres on the corner of
The acquisition comes at a time when ice time has become increasingly competitive around the metro-area, Huffman said. Options got scarcer when Minnesota State Fair officials recently announced it was closing the rink at the
"There's less ice then there was just six months ago, so that makes us feel even more comfortable with our numbers," Huffman said.
Though operational details are still a ways out, county officials anticipate keeping the same core users of the
"I would say that there will likely be a little different mix in the utilization so that you'll see teams not only from
The new arena would likely be offset by at least one arena closure somewhere in the county down the road, Mack said. It is too soon to say which one would be targeted, he added.
While slightly worried about having to share ice with additional users, the president of the
"There has been a lot of turmoil at the (
A newfound sense of stability will hopefully ease concerns of others in the market as well, Mack said.
"There's not going to be anything looming over customers shoulders about whether the place will be closed next year... It's going to be open," Mack said.
While good news for some, there are some bondholders who financed the arena who are upset about the pending sale. The deal ensures they lose over half of their investment, said
Some of those bondholders showed up at a hearing Monday to ask the judge to give the center more time to turn a profit. The judge ended up siding with the trustee,
Financial problems started piling up at the
Initially financially backed by the city of
Ongoing civil lawsuits still tied to the sports center wouldn't fall to the county in the transfer of ownership, Mack said.
The county could opt to back out of the purchase before then if final details can't be worked out between the involved parties.
"We are excited to get to this point," Huffman said. "All the formalities are done and we're finally at that due diligence phase we've wanted to be at for several months now."
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