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Forum News Service, Published July 02 2013

Bemidji council rejects Zorbaz offer

BEMIDJI, Minn. - Bemidji city councilors Monday rejected a proposal from the Zorbaz on the Lake restaurant group to buy land on the south shore of Lake Bemidji.

Zorbaz founder Tom Hanson offered $7 per square foot for the lakeshore land, which would have ended up being about $350,000, said Greater Bemidji Executive Director Dave Hengel.

Councilors, who make up the Bemidji Economic Development Authority, voted 6-1 to reject the offer. The offer “was lower than what we are hoping to receive for that property,” Mayor Rita Albrecht said after the Monday night meeting.

The city has plans to redevelop the beach adjacent to the lot Hanson proposed to buy. Hanson requested that the payment be deferred for five years or until the south shore beach redevelopment is completed -- whichever takes longer.

All 11 Zorbaz locations are on northern and central Minnesota lakes, according to the Mexican and pizza restaurant’s website.

Hengel said one of the most important issues on the south shore development is creating more traffic and activity.

“(Zorbaz) brings a name brand to Bemidji that is known for doing exactly what we need to have on the south shore,” he told the council.