Thursday, December 5, 2019

Oshkosh arena owner seeks to hire second financial adviser to raise new capital for debt restructuring

A monthly operating report shows the Menominee Nation Arena owner increased its cash holdings in October.
By Miles Maguire
The owner of the Menominee Nation Arena is moving to hire a second financial adviser to help it raise capital so that it can restructure its debts.

Attorneys for Fox Valley Pro Basketball Inc. have asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Brett H. Ludwig to approve the hiring of Young America Capital, of Mamaroneck, New York, as a financing broker.

YAC’s assignment would be to seek out private investors “for some or all of [Fox Valley’s] assets or securities.” The company would be paid $7,500 a month for four months, sums that would be credited against transaction fees that it could earn for finding stock or debt investors.

“If YAC is successful, the debtor will be able to provide more favorable terms to creditors in a plan of reorganization, which is in the best interest of the debtor and the creditors of the bankruptcy estate,” Evan P. Schmit, one of Fox Valley’s lawyers, said in a Nov. 20 filing.

YAC is an investment banker that focuses on new and midsized companies, particularly by promoting nontraditional assets. One of its areas of expertise is the legal cannabis business, according to its website.

In addition to finding lenders, YAC may also engage in other activities, such as looking for new customers who could generate revenues for the arena or even looking for a buyer of the property. In fact the possibility of an outright sale is mentioned several times in a letter of agreement from YAC to Greg Pierce, CEO of Fox Valley.

“In the event of a sale transaction, purchase price shall include the fair market value of all gross consideration paid to the company, its employees, directors and shareholders, and includes any debt assumed in connection with a transaction,” the letter states.

But Schmit downplayed the likelihood of a sale of the arena, saying that YAC’s main focus is to bring in major investments that would allow Fox Valley’s largest creditors to be paid off.

The arena owner has already received the go-ahead to hire a different financing broker to try to monetize the future stream of tax incentive payments that are due from the city.

“YAC can bring in a bigger, more comprehensive package that would be more beneficial to creditors,” Schmit said in an interview.

In a separate filing, Fox Valley provided a financial report on operations for October, showing a net loss of $200,000.

“If you look at it, I think it’s positive,” Schmit said. “The debtor received some sponsorship payments and event sales [revenue].”

Despite the loss the arena’s cash balance rose by about $200,000 during October.

“In general I would expect November to be even better based on the start of the Herd season,” Schmit said.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Oshkosh man detained at Mercy said he carried fireworks for protection, forgot them when admitted

A patient who brought explosive devices into Mercy hospital faces a Class H felony charge.

By Miles Maguire
The explosive devices that were discovered this month at Mercy hospital were brought into the facility by a patient who said he carried them for protection because, as a felon, he cannot own a gun.

Steel M. Lee was charged Nov. 26 with possession of improvised explosives. In speaking with police, he called them “firecrackers.”

Authorities described the devices as 1-inch tubes packed with “pyrotechnic or flash” powder. One was 4 inches long while the other was 5 to 6 inches long. They each had a wick inserted in the middle.

Lee, 29, told police he never intended to hurt himself or anyone else and that he forgot that he had the devices when he checked himself in for treatment of an infection.

When police arrived at the hospital, Lee “appeared to be very paranoid and was potentially having a mental health crisis,” according to court papers. “He believed that the government was out to get him and that there was a ‘hit’ out for him.”

Friday, November 22, 2019

Oshkosh OKs sale of south-side land for 'Sawdust Lofts'


Photo used by permission of Google Street View.

The city has agreed to sell this contaminated site on South Main Street to a developer for $1.

By Miles Maguire
The city’s Redevelopment Authority has agreed to sell a south-side parcel valued at $150,000 for $1 to a local development company that is proposing to build 60 units of “workforce” apartments there.

Northpointe Development Corp., which is owned by Andy Dumke and Cal Schultz, won out over three other entities that had ideas for the contaminated lot, which is in the 700 block of South Main Street.

Dumke and Schultz are proposing to put almost $11 million into the project. They plan to build a four-story building of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments to be known as Sawdust Lofts. Dumke was out of the office and not immediately available for comment.

Subsidized rents would start at $385. Nine market-rate units would rent for as much as $975 a month, according to bid documents.

Allen Davis, the city’s director of community development, said the cut-rate price for the property was justified by the potential for the apartment project to serve as a catalyst for future development in the Sawdust District.

He said the RDA board liked the relatively large number of units and their proposed rental rates. “It’s a workforce solution that we need in that area,” he said.

The project would also include three levels of underground parking as well as a plaza that would be available for public use with food trucks or other community events, he said.

The site is heavily contaminated and will require “lots of remediation,” Davis added. The possibility of a subsidy in the form of tax increment financing was not discussed but could come up at a later time, he said.

A TIF proposal and specific building plans would have to be approved by the Common Council, but the sale of the land does not require further review, Davis said.

Thomas Belter, the vice chair of the RDA, said all of the proposals for the site were “very nice uses.” He and Davis said they hope that the other projects will eventually come to fruition under the Sawdust District redevelopment plan, which is expected to be released in a matter of months.

“There is a lot of land across the street and down the street,” Belter said. “So there are alternative sites for some of the other projects.”

The other bidders for the site were:

  • Alexander & Bishop, an Oshkosh real estate company that has been active in residential and retail projects across the city. It proposed to use the site for four buildings, each of which would contain four townhouses and garage parking.
  • Bridgeview Holdings, the owners of the Miles Kimball building next door. It proposed to use the site for parking to serve tenants and customers for a planned restaurant in the historic structure after it is renovated.
  • Oshkosh Bier & Brewing Co., whose owner, Jeffrey Fulbright, founded one of the first craft beer companies in the state. Fulbright has been working on developing a brewery and “bier garten” in Oshkosh and previously pursued a site on Jackson Street.

“There is a lot more land” in the Sawdust District, Davis said. “We’re hoping [Fulbright's] project could land on one of the other sites.”

Although the neighborhood already has one craft brewer, Davis said he could imagine as many as three operating in that section of the city.

“We have Fifth Ward, but it would help to have a second or a third,” Davis. “It would help to make Oshkosh a destination.”