Holly Tauer compared the two bids for Jefferson to the game show "Let’s Make a Deal."
On one hand, there’s money, a guaranteed thing, the Red Wing School Board member said. On the other hand, there’s a mystery box, something that’s full of potential.
After months of discussion, a party that backed out of being selected, and two rounds of request for proposals, the Red Wing School Board voted 6-1 to select Red Wing native Jim Patterson’s plan for the Jefferson School site on Nov. 4.
The board and Patterson now will negotiate a purchase agreement over the coming weeks or months to finalize the deal.
Tauer made the motion that a purchase price of at least $300,000, a half acre of the green space that will be donated or sold for $1 to the city of Red Wing, that Patterson will pay closing and replatting costs and that Patterson and the city will work together to develop a park with the city.
The two proposals considered Monday night both were to transform the old school building into apartments. Patterson’s plan would use local contractors, establish 16 apartment units, and invest upwards of $2 million.
The other proposal was submitted by Rochester residents Robert “Bucky” Beeman and Hank Friederichs. Beeman, a commercial real estate agent, and Friederichs, a general contractor, offered $300,000 to purchase the site and would convert it into 20 apartment units, investing upwards of $900,000.
Board members expressed their concern over the feasibility of both proposals, worrying the investment price they’re both citing is low and might not work out.
Board Treasurer Mike Christensen said at $45,000 per unit, he questioned how the Rochester pair’s proposal would realistically work. Christensen acknowledged that Patterson’s plan is more reasonable for the cost.
Board member Janie Farrar expressed her concern about Patterson’s plan and his “vague” numbers throughout the process. Farrar -- who voted against the motion -- said she wanted more clarity than Patterson’s up to $400,000 offer to purchase the property.
Farrar said the Beeman/Friederichs proposal was more clear and would support that plan.
Patterson’s plan would secure 90% of the green space, Roe said. Whereas the Rochester pair’s plan would be a quarter of an acre.
During public comment time, Beeman and Patterson both had a chance to address the board and community in attendance of the meeting.
Patterson, who lives a couple blocks from the school, said from the beginning that he’s always wanted what was best for the community. He acknowledged how similar the proposals were, but called his plan “predictable,” remarking at how in the end it will be a “gorgeous” addition to the area.
Board members expressed their desire to move the purchase agreement along quickly, hoping something could be put together before the end of the year.