Work ready to begin; once deal is struck


IMLAY CITY — The hurry up and wait saga on whether or not Imlay City is able to secure another business in town continues, as attorneys for both sides work to finalize a proposed deal.

Owners of Sage Creek Winery, a Memphis-based business, approached the Imlay City Commission earlier this year about the possibility of purchasing three city-owned buildings, to allow them to expand their successful winery.

City Attorney Robert Seibert (far left) sits at the administration table with Fire Chief Rick Horton and Police Chief Brett Selby at last week’s Imlay City Commission meeting.

While city officials were more than eager to get a deal done as soon as possible, attorneys for both sides pumped the brakes on the deal several weeks ago and continue to hammer out the final details.

The topic of the proposed sale was on the Imlay City Commission agenda once again at their most recent meeting, last Tuesday evening.

The city’s attorney, Robert Seibert, reminded the commission, “45 days ago, I didn’t even know what Sage Creek was. Remember, you asked me to come up with an agreement both sides could live with. I developed a 10-page document (purchase agreement) and met with their attorneys. My proposal was promptly tossed in the trash and they have since created a 20-page document of their own that I have only had for a few days to review.”

A sale price of $50,000, with a $5,000 good faith deposit for the three buildings on Third St., was revealed. Despite the sale price, a property appraiser has been hired to do a fair market value of the property.

Aside from the attorneys reaching an agreement on the proposal, Sage Creek owners say they are waiting on, and at the mercy of, the Liquor Control Commission and EGLE before anything can be finalized.

Both commission members and residents who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting, cautioned that the process shouldn’t take too long and cause Sage Creek owners to reconsider their move to Imlay City.

In reviewing the proposal, city officials were told there was nothing concerning or that would prevent the deal from going through.

All sides agreed the biggest hurdle, aside from the financial agreement, is waiting on State licensing.

The property also has to be re-zoned, according to City Manager Craig Horton.

Sage Creek owners were at the meeting and told the commission they have plumbing, electrical and construction contractors lined up and ready to go, once final approvals are given.

In discussing what the city commission expects from Sage Creek in terms of when the business would open and meeting certain threshholds during renovations, Mayor Pro-Tem Ted Sadler cautioned the Commission and attorney, “Don’t raise the bar too high to discourage any potential business from locating in town, not just Sage Creek.”

City Manager Horton told the commission the topic would remain on their agenda for future meetings, to allow for further discussion and possible action on the sale of the property and buildings.