Sanford Center management contract approved Friday

The Bemidji City Council formalized a contract with the new management company of the Sanford Center in a special meeting Friday afternoon.

Last September, the council voted 4-3 to terminate the contract with VenuWorks, the management company that’s been overseeing its operations since the Sanford Center opened.

ASM Global was the only company to return a request for proposal.

The City shall pay ASM Global an annual $120,000 fixed fee, or $10,000 a month.

ASM will also be entitled to an annual incentive fee.

If the Sanford Center loses less than $420,000 in a year, the benchmark net operating loss, ASM would be entitled to an incentive fee of 30 percent of those savings of the city’s deficit.

The city’s annual subsidy for the Sanford Center can be up to $450,000.

If in 2023, the operating deficit of the Sanford Center is $320,000, ASM would be entitled to $30,000, from 30 percent of the $100,000 in savings.

If the Sanford Center breaks even or does better, ASM would be entitled to a 40 percent incentive fee of the profits.

ASM will provide the city with $200,000 for capital improvements upon approval of the contract, as well as a $100,000 event marketing fund.

The contract also stipulates that the use of the facility for civic and nonprofit organizations will be provided at reduced rates.

Other stipulations grant termination of the contract for both parties, but mediation is required.

The contract is in effect as of today and will expire March 7, 2027.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University. You can follow along with Larissa's live tweets of meetings and events on Twitter!


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