21st Century Equipment moves toward purchase of former Aurora Loan Services building

The former Aurora Loan Services building that faces 5th Avenue off South Beltline East will likely be corporate offices for 21st Century Equipment. The Scottsbluff City Council voted Tuesday night to entertain a $100,000 offer from 21st Century for the sale of the building and asked staff to negotiate the terms and conditions of a final sale contract to be considered later by the council.

21st Century CEO Owen Palm said once the council formally approves the sale, it will allow 21st Century to offer economic development to the community and to provide jobs. Palm says he plans to place two dozen people at the Scottsbluff location from various offices in the region.

City Manager Rick Kuckkahn says the $100,000 offer takes into account that a lot of rehabilitation will be needed, including asbestos abatement in and around the heating ducts.

Mayor Randy Meininger said that the council is relieved the purchase will fall right in line with the city's plans to increase economic development. He says the relief is not just in selling the building, but to put it back on the tax roles and to bring in more jobs to the community. Jobs he says will be competitive. Plus, Meininger says the rehabilitation of the front building on the property will likely make the back building more attractive to potential buyers as well.

21st Century Equipment CEO Owen Palm told KNEB News he appreciates the council's confidence in their ability to develop the property. He says first and foremost they need a headquarters for their corporate staff, which will occupy about two thirds of the building. Then down the road they will be looking at other possibilities for the remainder of the building. Palm says he has already rehabilitated a number of buildings and says he has experience with difficult issues like asbestos abatement, which will be required in this building as well.

After entering into an executive session for just over a half hour to discuss strategy on how to proceed with the two offers on the table, the council first rejected a $70,000 offer before voting to entertain the $100,000 offer for the building.

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