City Manager Robert Strope told the Urban Renewal Agency/La Grande City Council Wednesday night that the URA loan given to the developer and owner of the building on Fourth Street and Adams Avenue, Al Adelsberger, remains in effect even though Market Place Family Foods closed its doors.
On Feb. 1, a sign on the door of the grocery store said the store is temporarily closed and in “transition.” Marco Rennie, who operated Family Foods in La Grande with business owner Troy Berglund, said Berglund will likely be filing for bankruptcy. It is unknown if Berglund has done so already.
Many La Grande community members voiced their concerns on Facebook and in Letters to the Editor to The Observer about the $500,000 URA loan given to Adelsberger and Berglund in 2014 to go toward building the Market Place Family Foods store.
Strope said since Adelsberger is the owner of the building the loan will not default, as long as the building houses a grocery store.
“Everything is still status quo,” Strope told the council.
The URA gives loans to local businesses after an application process. The Market Place loan was much higher than what is usually given. Typically, the loans are capped at $75,000. Strope told The Observer previously that the approval of more than the typical amount is done on a case-by-case basis.
According to the original agreement, the loan would become a grant if certain standards were met. The store was required to maintain 10 full-time jobs at $15 an hour and five part-time jobs over a five-year period, according to a draft outlining requirements.
The store was also required to be open at least five days a week for 52 weeks a year for five years.
See complete story in Friday's Observer