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South shore development: Loan request proposal up for talk at Monday meeting

BEMIDJI – The developer planning a hotel and restaurant adjacent to the Sanford Center is looking for a loan to help pay for the connection to the event center.

Bemidji city council members are scheduled for a special meeting at 5:15 p.m. Monday at City Hall to consider the proposal through a revolving loan fund.

Tiffany Fettig, a business loan consultant for the Headwaters Regional Finance Corp. (HRFC), is scheduled to present the item. The HRFC is a subsidiary of the Headwaters Regional Development Commission.

Bemidji City Manager John Chattin said he expects a recommendation that councilors approve $400,000 from the city’s revolving loan fund to provide “gap” financing to build the connection between the Sanford Center and Country Inn and Suites.

Fettig said she reviews requests as part of a city committee tasked with making recommendations using the city’s loan fund.

The recommendation, she said, includes several contingencies for the developer of a 121-room hotel and Crooked Pint Ale House.

Tripp Snyder, a Twin Cities area developer, purchased 2.17 acres of land from Bemidji for $756,202 with plans to build the project.

On Friday, Chattin said the City Council considers south shore development a priority for the loan fund.

Fettig said the loan request matches the costs for building the connection between outside of the events center’s George W. Nielsen Convention and Conference Center and hotel.

The purchase agreement for the land requires the developer to build the connection and give it to the city, Chattin said. Likely, he said, a developer would receive a loan for that portion of construction since the city – not the lender – would own it.

The loan proposal appears “somewhat reasonable,” Chattin said.

In March, Snyder agreed to purchase the land adjacent to the Sanford Center and build the hotel and restaurant.

However, construction has been delayed a few times, and the city expected work to start last month. Work has not started and the hotel will not be complete in time for all of the conventions booked at the Sanford Center in 2013.

 Chattin said the only remaining piece to resolve before construction is Snyder getting financial details in order. The city manager said Snyder told him this week that plans still include starting construction this fall.

Steve Wagner

Grand Forks Herald Editor Steve Wagner can be reached at 701.780.1104 and He joined the Herald in April 2013, and previously worked as editor at the Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer and in several roles -- including news director, investigative reporter and crime reporter - at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. His reporting experience includes coverage of Dru Sjodin's disappearance and the federal death penalty case for her murderer, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., along with several investigative projects. In his spare time, Wagner is an avid runner and occasionally writes about his experiences on his blog, Addicted to Running.

(701) 780-1104