City agrees to pay $2.5 million for NMC buildingThe agreement allows a nearly two-month period for the city to inspect the building and attempt to get the Hudson Area Joint Library Board to commit to leasing a portion of it from the city.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
The city of Hudson will pay $2.5 million for the Nuclear Management Co. building under the terms of a purchase agreement signed this week by Mayor Dean Knudson and the company’s corporate secretary.
The agreement allows a nearly two-month period for the city to inspect the building and attempt to get the Hudson Area Joint Library Board to commit to leasing a portion of it from the city.
The city is free to opt out of the deal “for any or no reason” through Dec. 16, 2009, without losing $100,000 in earnest money that the city put down shortly after the City Council approved the agreement and Knudson signed it.
After the end of the inspection period, the city would lose the money if it backed out of the deal.
The agreement says the closing of the purchase of the property will take place on Dec. 22, or earlier if both parties are in agreement.
The city intends to relocate the police department to the building. It’s hopeful that the library – jointly operated by the city, the village of North Hudson, and the towns of Hudson and St. Joseph – will agree to move into part of the building.
The former corporate headquarters building at the corner of First and Vine streets has 29,450 square feet on two floors, plus 11,237 square feet in a lower level that includes a 17-stall parking garage.
It was built by Erickson’s Diversified Corp., parent company of the More 4 grocery store chain, in 1995. Erickson’s Diversified sold the grocery chain and its headquarters to Nash Finch Co. in 1999.
Nash Finch, a national wholesale food distributor and retail store operator, didn’t have a need for the building and sold it to Nuclear Management Co.
Nuclear Management Co. ceased operations in the summer of 2008 and put the building up for sale.
The Hudson Area Library Foundation, a nonprofit organization chartered to raise funds to improve Hudson’s public library, in 2008 proposed moving the library to the NMC building. The asking price for the building at that time was reported to be $3.8 million.
Voters in the four partner municipalities endorsed the move in an April 1, 2008, advisory referendum. The margins were overwhelming in the city (1,523 to 512), village (482 to 170) and the town of Hudson (751 to 353).
But the measure failed to gain the necessary support when the binding referendum on levying tax dollars to purchase and operate the building was held on Nov. 4, 2008.
The city (4,180 to 2,441) and village (1,172 to 928) voted to borrow the money to buy, renovate and equip the building as a library, but the question failed in the town of Hudson (2,224 to 2,304) and town of St. Joseph (980 to 1,252).
Voters in all four municipalities rejected exceeding the limit on local tax levies for the purpose of operating an expanded library. The total vote on the question for all four municipalities was 6,327 to 9,091.
City voters came the closest to authorizing the spending. They rejected it 3,532 to 3,045.
St. Joseph voters opposed the increased spending by a two-to-one margin, 1,482 to 730.
In the town of Hudson, the question was rejected 2,844 to 1,671, and in North Hudson, 1,233 to 881.
An informational meeting on the latest proposal to move the library into a portion of the NMC building will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, at the Hudson Town Hall. The town hall is located at 980 County Road A, just north of McCutcheon Road.
Representatives from the city, village and towns of Hudson and St. Joseph will be present to discuss the proposal, according to a notice that came from the city.