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Paper work for WRTC deal completed

WILLMAR -- The Willmar Regional Treatment Center now has new owners.

In action Monday described as "very boring" by one of the participating attorneys, signature papers were matched with about 43 different documents as part of the procedure to close the sale.

The action completes the sale of the campus to two new owners -- Kandiyohi County and a private Willmar company called MinnWest Technology.

Although the action represents a historic change for the Willmar Regional Treatment Center and the community, the legal transfer of property was not a public event.

"It would have been very boring for spectators," said L. Wayne Larson, a Willmar attorney who, along with County Attorney Boyd Beccue, represented the county during the signing procedure, which took about three hours.

"There was nothing attractive about it," said Larson. "But we got it done."

About a dozen of those documents will be filed today at the Kandiyohi County Recorder's office.

Most of the land and buildings are now owned by MinnWest Technology, a Willmar company with roots in the Willmar Poultry Company, including Nova-Tech Engineering and Epitopix. The company intends to renovate the buildings and move their existing businesses there. They will also market the facility to other technology businesses to create a working campus that will eventually feature dining, exercise and day-care facilities for the workers.

MinnWest will own 95 acres and 37 buildings. Kandiyohi County will own 18 acres and seven buildings.

Last spring Minnesota lawmakers approved legislation to sell the property to MinnWest, but transferring the land and buildings was anything but a straight shot. The Willmar Housing and Redevelopment Authority was utilized as a middleman of sorts to make the land transfer legal.

According to Larson, the process went like this:

n The state sold the entire campus to Kandiyohi County for $1.

n The county then sold the campus to the Willmar Housing and Redevelopment Authority for $1.

n The Willmar Housing and Redevelopment Authority sold all the property, except two parcels that the county has permanent ownership of, to MinnWest for $1,468,000.

n MinnWest then sold back portions of the campus to the Willmar Housing and Redevelopment Authority for $568,000.

n The Willmar Housing and Redevelopment Authority then sold that property back to Kandiyohi County for $568,000.

The end result is that MinnWest paid $900,000 for the property the company now owns. Kandiyohi County will recoup its money by leasing space in five buildings back to the state for existing family service programs for youths and adults. The county will keep two buildings for the Prairie Lakes Youth Program, a juvenile detention facility, as well as some bare land for potential construction in the future.

The final agreements were signed Friday. The signature papers for every step of the transaction from every entity were assembled Monday, said Larson. "It really has to be organized when so many pages need signature pages," he said, adding that all the parties involved were very organized and the process went smoothly.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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