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Group to make last offer on Lake Lawn Resort

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ANN MARIE AMES
March 25, 2011
— A local group plans to make a final offer today to buy the closed Lake Lawn Resort from Anchor Bank and a group of other, smaller banks.

If he doesn’t have a deal by midnight, the offer will be off the table, said Jim Drescher, a Geneva National resident who has worked as the group’s negotiator in the so far unfruitful deal.


Drescher on Thursday night during a Delavan City Council meeting said he would submit a third offer that is slightly higher than the $9.3 million in cash he offered last week.


He made an $8.4 million offer the week of March 13.


After an optimistic council meeting last Thursday, Drescher met Friday with Patrick Wright, a representative of the bank. Wright told Drescher the bank could strike a deal and expected it to happen by the end of the day, he said.


Since then, Drescher said he has made more than 15 phone calls to Wright. Delavan Mayor Mel Nieuwenhuis also has tried to call Wright as have some state officials, Drescher said. No one has gotten a response, he said.


“I’ve written two offers,” Drescher said. “Patrick Wright has told me what to put in those offers. And I don’t have an (accepted) offer.”


Drescher raised $12 million from five investors to buy Lake Lawn for $9.3 million in cash. The rest of the money would be used to run the resort debt-free for two seasons until the property can turn a profit, Drescher has said.


Drescher said he does not think his is the only offer on the table, but it is the only cash offer, he said.


Anchor Bank in 2009 filed a $51.9 million foreclosure action against the former owners of Lake Lawn and in October bought the resort at a sheriff’s sale for $19.97 million. The bank closed the resort in December. More than 300 people lost their jobs.


Fire station bid OK’d

Somebody pinch Delavan Fire Chief Neill Flood.


After three years of discussion and the committee and community level, the council on Thursday awarded a $2.31 million bid to Harmony Construction Management of Madison. That includes a base bid for a 16,000-square-foot, one-story building station on Ann Street a block and a half east of the current station.


The station will include offices for a chief and assistant chief, a dispatcher’s office, a conference room, an inspector’s office and a training space. The building will feature a brick facade and glass bay doors. The building has been designed so the training room can be used for evening community activities.


Although the department does not have full-time firefighters at this time, the city decided to build an approximately 600-square-foot bunk room for a cost of $45,580. The building also will include radiant in-floor heat and epoxy flooring.


Architect Matt Wolfert of Bray and Associates told the council the city got into the construction business at the right time. Despite the choice of some high-end options, such as a brick facade and radiant in-floor heating, the construction cost is only $140 per square foot, Wolfert said.


“It’s an extremely valuable building,” Wolfert said.


Flood and others have been advocating for a new department for decades. The department in 1983 moved into its current home on Seventh Street. The building was designed as a car dealership, and the move was to be temporary in the 1980s.


The council also on Thursday voted to ask Administrator Joe Salitros to extend his employment contract until May 22. He has said that he would be willing to stay until that time. The city has hired Denise Peroni, a former village manager in Barrington, Ill., to replace Salitros.



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