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Public Health building sold

Stevens County began plans this spring to sell its public health building on Pacific Avenue in Morris after the staff moved to its new location on Highway 28.

The former Stevens Traverse Grant Public Health building has been sold to an Iowa swine veterinary firm.

The Stevens County Commissioners sold the building during their meeting on Tuesday.

The County received two sealed bids for the Pacific Avenue building, one for $140,000 from Todd Hottovy and a bid of $150,000 from Todd Distad.

In May, Hottovey was the lone bidder for the building, offering $125,000. The commissioners had set a $200,000 price for the building and rejected Hottovey's bid at that time.

The county continued to negotiate with Hottovy and also solicited proposals from area real estate brokers to market the property.

During that time, the county was considering another bid from Hottovy of $160,000, but when researching the purchase agreement, language in the Minnesota statute put a halt to any potential deal.

The law states that if government property is not sold after considering bids, the county can hire a broker to sell the property but it can't be sold for less than 90 percent of the appraised market value "as determined by the county."

That stipulation led the commissioners to advertise a second time for bids. Despite having the outside appraisal, the statute apparently gives the county the option to appraise the property itself. The county also could then opt to work through a broker, but would have to negotiate and pay a fee.

After the bids were opened at Tuesday's meeting, both bidders were allowed to increase their bids. Hottovey offered $152,000, and Distad followed by offering $160,000. Hottovey then offered $161,000 and Distad countered with $170,000. Hottovey declined to increase his final bid and the county board approved Distad's offer of $170,000.

Following the commissioner's meeting, Todd Distad said he is a partner in Suidae Health and Production, a swine veterinary consulting practice located in Algona, Iowa, and they are planning to open a branch office in the building.