Synergy sale scrapped

By Geoff Lee

November 3, 2016 12:00 AM

NULL AND VOID Lloydminster Mayor Rob Saunders spoke at a news conference Nov. 1 about the cancellation of the city's purchase offer for the former Synergy Credit Union building by reading an official news release. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO

The City of Lloydminster nixed its $4.5 million purchase offer for the Synergy Credit Union building it envisioned as a potential catalyst for downtown revitalization as a Community Hub.
Mayor Rob Saunders read from a prepared statement on Nov. 1 to kick off his announcement that the purchase of the 50th Street building was officially void.
“The purchase of the downtown Synergy Credit Union building was subject to certain conditions in favour of the City,” said Saunders at a City Hall news conference.
“The city was not in a position to remove or waive the conditions on or before Oct. 26, and as such, the purchase agreement has been rendered null and void.”
Synergy Credit Union CEO, Glenn Stang,  acknowledged the city couldn’t meet the terms and conditions of the sale so the agreement became null and void.
“As far as Synergy goes, we will continue to look for opportunities to lease space in either building whether it’s the 42nd St. property or the 50th St. property downtown and or look to sell the 50th St. downtown property,” he said.
The company’s administration staff still occupy the second floor of the downtown building that would be vacated when a new owner buys it.
“We’re going to be here until we find either tenants to take over the building or that we can sell it, so we are really moving on,” said Stang.
“We have a couple of leads again of people that are either interested in leasing it and or buying it.”
As for the timing of the announcement of the failed offer, Saunders said, “We just corresponded with our administration—they just advised us yesterday, so we wanted to make an announcement as soon as possible.” 
Saunders went on to stress the city will get a full refund on its deposit as per the purchase agreement.
He noted however, that due to the city’s legal contractual negotiations with Synergy, he wouldn’t reveal which conditions the city was not in a position to remove or waive in favour of the city.
“I am not going to speak to those today,” he said..
“When we negotiate in good faith and with legal contractual arrangements those things are kept between the two parties.”
Stang told the Source on Nov. 2 that the cancellation had nothing to do with the condition of the building.
“It has nothing to do with the quality of the building; it has to do with their (city’s) process and if they’re not willing to go public with it, I’m not willing to go either,” said Stang.
Saunders wouldn’t say what the financial impact of the cancelled purchase would be on the city as its faces a $10.5 million 2017 budget deficit.
“Of course, there’s budget deliberations going forward—there’s always challenges around fiscal decisions that need to be made, he said.
“I would not put a number to it.”
The city’s proposed purchase of the building became one of the leading issues in the municipal election held Oct. 26 —the same day the conditional purchase offer expired.
“The deadline was election day—the city put some conditions with some date,” said Saunders.
He said he hopes the vision of downtown revitalization is kept alive when Mayor elect Aalbers and a new council are sworn into office on Nov. 7.
“That particular site was landed on by professional consultation in support of all downtown businesses,” he said.
“It’s a big piece to the downtown and it will continue to be a big piece to the downtown.”
Aalbers campaigned against the purchase of the Synergy’ building, but Saunders encourages the city to continue work with Synergy and other businesses downtown for revitalization initiatives.
He said Synergy Credit Union is a prime business partner in our community and he expects both players will continue working together in the revitalization of the downtown.
Stang said Synergy currently has 20,000 sq. ft. of space on the top two floors of its 42nd St. building to fill.
“They’re also available either for lease, or if we can fill the downtown property at 50 St., then the admin would move into those two floors,” said Stang.
“So right now, our business plan is in limbo until we can actually fill that space—we’re working hard on it.
“I believe we can find another option here very quickly.”

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