FLAAA Sports Center sold

School District 831 is now in the ice arena business.

Forest Lake Area Athletic Association President Al Hauge said the district closed on the purchase of the FLAAA Sports Center on Monday, Nov. 25. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately available, but through a lease purchase agreement, third-party investors now hold the title to the five-year-old facility. The district will make annual payments for up to 20 years. Once the agreed-upon value has been paid, the district can obtain the title. The district’s latest pro forma projected interest and fees of $1.4 million on top of the agreed-upon purchase price of $3.3 million.

Last week the Sports Center was scheduled for auction at the Washington County Law Enforcement Center in Stillwater.

Nicholas Jellum, attorney at the Stillwater firm of Anastasi Jellum, said the sheriff’s sale of the ice arena was first postponed until Dec. 5 and then cancelled.

  • “projected interest and fees of $1.4 million on top of the agreed-upon purchase price of $3.3 million.” equals $4.7. Of the five arenas built and operated, in a study I’d undertaken in 2009-10, the FLAAA Sports Center came in, for its size and functionality, as the one with the best chance at success.

    If I remember correctly, the FLAAA Sports Center’s final cost for labor and materials, when constructed in 2008, was $6.4 million (and without the donated labor, donated materials, would have easily gone much higher). Like any liquidation or bankruptcy, it’s usually the next owner who has the best chance of making a profit.

    The Waconia Ice Arena and of course, the Vadnais Heights Sports Center are the nightmare stories of financial ruin. The Crookston Sports Center (CSC), built in 2009, is another project which arose out of broken promises and of the upmost negligence and disrespect to city and state taxpayers (state legislators gave Crookston $10 million through bonding towards the final $15.5 mil price tag). Although the CSC houses three indoor ice rinks, the exhibition arena lacks proper seating so as to host regional tournaments. The facility was purposefully built without a dehumidification system which has created problems with maintaining proper ice conditions. Recently the city of Crookston, which owns the facility, received a price estimate, for such a system, at $450,000. This at a time where the lack of youth participants, in ice sports, are pointing towards the CSC closing one or more of the indoor rinks.

    Unlike these other poorly planned projects, I believe that School District 831, through careful management techniques and proper marketing, may be one of the few who can profit through the FLAAA Sports Center acquisition. We should know if two or three years.