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Bielenberg Sports Center will not be ready by July

A reopening date for the Bielenberg Sports Center has been delayed once again, Woodbury officials said Friday.

The field house and lobby will not be open by July as originally planned, city spokesman Jason Egerstrom said, citing construction challenges over the past year for the setbacks.

Full-service restaurant plans on the second level have also been put on hold while the city explores other food service options, he added.

“While not desirable, the reopening delay will have minimal impact to our operations,” Egerstrom said. “The building will be open for high-peak indoor use season that begins in late September.”

Although a concession stand will open in August on the main level, plans for the full-service restaurant that have been in the works for more than a year have stalled.

Woodbury City Council held a closed session meeting on Wednesday to discuss legal options relating to the partnership with Gartner Restaurant Holdings and the second floor establishment.

City officials remain tight-lipped about possible disagreements with restaurateurs Bill Kulesa and Greg Gartner and say the closed session was held to stay educated on the issue.

“We’re just hopeful to figure out a solution on that,” City Council Member Christopher Burns said. “There has just been some high anticipated circumstances that have come up that we just wanted to address and that’s why we had the closed session to talk through things with legal counsel.”

Gartner Restaurant Holdings has been involved in the planning of BSC’s newly renovated second story since last spring. The company signed a lease agreement with the city last August.

Gartner and Kulesa, who built the Stillwater Dairy Queen and own other establishments, expected to do $800,000 in interior improvements with the city paying $500,000 toward permanent fixtures like a fireplace, exhaust equipment, plumbing and wall and floor tile, according to the original agreement.

The duo estimated annual sales at $1 million with alcohol or $600,000 without a liquor license.

City officials blame much of the delays on cold and snowy conditions that lasted into May 2013 along with an early winter and another late and wet spring this year.

“We needed to dedicate more time than anticipated to implement the unique design and complex construction of this project with its significant, exciting private investments,” Egerstrom said.

The dedication and grand reopening events for the $22 million building, originally scheduled for July 2 and 4, respectively, have been moved to the fall.

“Celebrating in the fall will allow us to showcase the building in a completed stage,” he added. “Many of the project components – the field house, lobby, outdoor skating rink, splash pad and Minnesota United’s training facility – are expected be completed prior to the event.”

Despite the postponed reopening, this year’s scheduled Fourth of July fireworks display will remain at BSC. 

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.