City council debates Hotel Thompson involvement
WORTHINGTON — At the regular meeting of the Worthington City Council Monday night, Director of Community Development, Planning, Zoning and Building Services Jason Brisson presented further developments regarding the Hotel Thompson.
The Thompson’s receiver, Lighthouse Management Group, has received two offers on the property.
One offer proposed purchase and redevelopment that could be started quickly. The receiver rejected this offer.
The other offer could not be started right away and would require significant financial aid from the city. The receiver accepted this offer.
“It could take some weeks or longer,” Brisson clarified of the timeline. “The question is, do we want to move forward with the roof, or do we want to work it out with the private party?”
Council member Alan Oberloh submitted that the city fixes the roof and counts the costs toward its financial participation in the project.
Council member Amy Ernst added that the city council wanted a roof on the Thompson a year ago.
“Either we need to decide to put a roof on it, or we need to walk away,” she said.
Mayor Mike Kuhle agreed.
“I think if we don’t put a roof on it, we spell the demise of the building,” he predicted.
Although council member Larry Janssen was not present at the meeting, council member Mike Harmon reminded the council of what Janssen has cautioned repeatedly in the past: the city does not own the Thompson.
“This is an obligation of Wells Fargo,” Harmon said. “This isn’t an obligation of the city.”
“Wells Fargo is going to walk away,” City Administrator Steve Robinson responded.
Harmon suggested that the city wait a year, when it would be more likely the city could buy the property for a dollar.
“If we don’t put a roof on it, it won’t be here in a year,” Robinson contended.
“I don’t think we can keep pushing this down the road,” Ernst added.
Robinson explained the prospective buyer has not submitted a clear, itemized request for city aid, so the city is not in the best position to accept or reject the proposal.
Brisson said once a request is brought from the buyer to the council, members will need to consider cost per unit, cost per square foot of the renovation and comparison to similar projects.
Council members opted to wait until the next council meeting to take action on the Hotel Thompson.