NEW: City of Watertown gets one low ball bid to sell Wells Fargo building

October 16, 2023

Mike Tanner

WATERTOWN, S.D.–The Watertown City Council is being asked to reject the only bid the city received to sell the Wells Fargo Bank building (pictured) they bought three years ago for $1.3 million.

It’s an issue that’s on tonight’s city council agenda.

In November 2020, the city council, led by then-Mayor Sarah Caron, bought the bank building at 20 North Maple with the idea it would be a perfect fit for a new City Hall. In fact, city officials enthusiastically said as much the night they voted to buy it.

Renovation costs to turn the bank building into a city hall came in millions of dollars over budget, so a few months ago, the city council declared it surplus property, giving them the option of selling it.

But now they seem to be stuck with a building they don’t want, and can’t get a decent offer to sell.

They got just one bid from an interested buyer. That was for $600,000, or less than half the appraised value. City Attorney Lisa Carrico will recommend the offer be rejected.

Also at tonight’s meeting, the council will hear a construction update on the $36 million Prairie Lakes Ice Arena, and they’ll hold the first reading of an ordinance change relating to snow plowing in Watertown. The change would remove language related to streets and avenues being plowed on specific days, as well as cleaning up ordinance language on the declaration of a snow emergency.