by CHRIS ROGERS
On Tuesday morning, the Winona County Board will vote on whether to sell the Winona County Government Center building to Bob Kierlin’s Main Square Development, LLC, for $700,000. The Winona County Board is considering the sale of the building as part of a plan to downsize county office space and save money. Under the proposed deal, the county would pay $3,500 a month to lease the building until 2020, giving it time to renovate the Winona County Office Building and relocate departments from the government center to the office building.
Kierlin’s company was one of two bidders for the building. The other, Shawn Beier’s S & M Properties, offered the county $161,000. Main Square Development recently purchased the adjacent Hardee’s block from the city of Winona and is constructing apartments and commercial space on the site. A company representative said the firm hasn’t decided exactly what to do with the government center, but it could be used for more commercial space or parking.
If the County Board approves the deal, it will mean that the county is committing to consolidating its offices. When the County Board put the building up for sale there was some question about whether the full board was convinced administrator Ken Fritz’s building consolidation plan would work. Winona County does have an option to continue leasing the building month-by-month after 2019, but it will have to continue paying rent. If the county ends the lease at the end of 2019, it will pay around $52,500 in rent.
The County Board already met in closed session late last month to discuss Main Square’s offer and, according to board chair Marcia Ward, reached an agreement on what to do. Now county staff have drafted a purchase agreement for the board to approve.
The County Board will meet on Tuesday at 9 a.m. on the second floor of the government center, 177 Main Street, in Winona. This meeting is open to the public.