Archived Story

Georgia group interested in RTC

Published 11:16am Friday, April 26, 2013

Dozens of developers have had an interest in redeveloping the Regional Treatment Center property, but only a few have been legitimate developers, according to Fergus Falls City Administrator Mark Sievert.

The latest one seems to offer some promise for moving forward.

Historic Properties Inc., a private real estate development company out of Georgia, visited Fergus Falls earlier this month and received a tour of the grounds. According to its website, Historic Properties Inc. specializes in the acquisition and restoration of historic buildings across the country.

Company officials are planning to present their ideas at the May 6 City Council meeting, according to Sievert. The council has heard presentations in the past regarding RTC redevelopment, but Sievert sees this one as something different.

Sievert said he feels the Georgia group separates itself from other proposals as follows:

• The company has the qualifications to do the project,

• Company officials are willing to talk to the city officials about their company and examples of projects they have completed,

• They are willing to inform the council what their intentions are,

• They are willing to discuss the type of commitment or agreement they want before moving forward.

“We’re optimistic with them,” Sievert said. “They’re very well qualified. We’ll see what they’ll be able to pull together.”

Another developer in the running had been AMI of West Virginia, owner of the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, a Kirkbride building that has been converted from a state hospital into a tourist attraction. All indications are that the group is no longer interested in the RTC, however.

The group has not made any contact with Fergus Falls since the end of 2012, though it had submitted a letter of interest for the possible purchase of the RTC property. They also came to town last fall for a few days and met with city officials.

“We spent a lot of time with them,” Sievert said. “For what they were looking to do, they were well qualified to do that.”

It was more about determining if the RTC was going to be a good fit for them, Sievert said.

AMI had wanted the city to help them acquire the property at the RTC owned by Jeff Schlossman. However, they were under the impression that the city was going to take the property back and give it to them, which the city was not going to do, Sievert said.

The Trans Allegheny owners also wanted the city to make significant improvements to the building, he said.

“It was never our intention to do that,” Sievert said. “They basically said then that they were no longer interested.”

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