Archived Story

Bank OKs purchase of ‘front 9’

Published 9:44am Friday, June 28, 2013

American Bank of St. Paul this week accepted the Shell Rock River Watershed District’s $290,000 offer to purchase about 50 acres of the former Albert Lea Golf Club.

If everything goes as planned, district officials and the bank will close on the property — known to most Albert Leans as the “front nine” — in mid-August.

Next, the district will conduct its final review of the property, said Matt Benda, the district’s lawyer.

It is also working with the city to re-evaluate some of the old assessments against the property, said Watershed District Administrator Brett Behnke.

Behnke said in an earlier interview that district staff are interested in the property because they hope to restore the wetlands there and potentially use another part of the site as a staging area during the dredging of Fountain Lake. District officials have been negotiating with the bank for about a year about the property.

St. John’s Lutheran Home purchased the other half of the property known as “the back nine” at the end of 2010 with plans to build a senior campus overlooking Edgewater Bay. There are plans to begin construction this fall.

The land had been in the hands of the bank after it was surrendered by commercial developer Scott LaFavre following the property’s foreclosure amid litigation by contractors. At the time LaFavre owned the land, it was known as Eagle’s Rest, though the development never came to fruition.