Request for information submitted on future of Southshore Center

Southshore Center. (Sun Sailor file photo by Paige Kieffer)
Southshore Center. (Sun Sailor file photo by Paige Kieffer)

On April 10, the City of Shorewood voted 4-0 in favor of releasing a request for information to parties who may be interested in purchasing the Southshore Center

On Jan. 9, after more than a year of litigation, Shorewood officials approved the $311,000 purchase of Deephaven, Excelsior, Greenwood and Tonka Bay’s undivided interest in the real estate of the center.

On Feb. 24, the city council and staff attended a retreat where they discussed how Shorewood could make best use of the facility moving forward.

During the meeting, a request for information was drafted by Councilmember Patrick Johnson and City Administrator Greg Lerund.

The request for information will be sent to the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Chamber of Commerce, catering businesses, restaurateurs, architect firms and other potential entities across the metro area who may be able to assist Shorewood in operating the center.

“We don’t know what we may get on this,” Lerund said. “It may be nothing but at least were going to put it out there and see.”

Lerund said Johnson has already been in contact with potential parties including architectural firms.

Councilmember Jennifer Labadie expressed concern on which entities should be targeted, especially with the size of the center.

“That’s kind of the catch-22 of all of this,” Johnson said. “It’s hard to know where to send it. The whole idea is to drum up some interest that we haven’t thought of.”

Johnson said similar requests for information have been made by the City of Minneapolis with Lake Harriet, Minnehaha Falls and Lake Calhoun.

“I don’t think it hurts to ask,” said Councilmember Debbie Siakel.

The parties will have 30 days to reply after the request is sent out. The city council will then review the informational requests in late-May. This will then be followed by a request for a proposal.

The cities of Deephaven, Excelsior, Greenwood, Shorewood and Tonka Bay became joint owners of the Southshore Center after they entered into a cooperative agreement March 4, 1996, for the purposes of creating a community center to serve residents and specifically senior citizens in those cities.

The agreement provided the amounts that each city would fund for the project and that Shorewood would act as a financial manager over the property and oversee construction.

Under the agreement, Deephaven owned 22.45 percent of the Southshore Center, Excelsior 14.6 percent, Greenwood 3.95 percent, Tonka Bay 9 percent and Shorewood 50 percent, according to court documents.

In 1998, the cities agreed to enter into a 25-year agreement with the nonprofit Friends of the South Lake Minnetonka Senior Community Center that would own and operate the center.

In 2008, the nonprofit defaulted on the lease and Shorewood took over operation and maintenance of the property.

The cities entered into litigation after Shorewood claimed the cities didn’t invest into the property. Shorewood fought to be the sole owner without buying out the other cities’ interest.

Shorewood lost and after exhausting all appeals, the city complied with a court order and purchased the other cities’ shares.

Contact Paige Kieffer at [email protected]