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Patrick Springer, Published July 30 2013

Bankruptcy judge OKs auction sale for part of former PRACS campus in Fargo

FARGO – A bankruptcy judge has approved the auction sale of part of the former PRACS campus here, and bidding will start at $5.1 million for two buildings in the Aug. 16 sale.

The sale will take place in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Antonio, with the bankruptcy judge presiding over the auction. Qualified bidders must register at least two days before the sale and must be present during the auction.

Aldevron, a Fargo-based firm that provides custom materials, including DNA and proteins to major research laboratories, petitioned for the sale of the two buildings and has offered $5.1 million for the property.

The purchase offer involves two of three former PRACS buildings on the 4800 block of Amber Valley Parkway: a two-story building of 116,775 square feet with an appraised value of $10.6 million, and an auxiliary building of 8,400 square feet appraised at $781,400, according to city records.

Bankruptcy Judge Craig Gargotta, in an order filed last week, determined that all likely bidders for the property have been contacted.

The judge also concluded that Aldevron’s purchase agreement is “fair, reasonable and appropriate, and designed to maximize the value of the debtors’ estates.”

Sold ‘as is’

PRACS abruptly closed March 23 and soon after filed a Chapter 7 liquidation petition. PRACS performed clinical drug tests for the pharmaceutical industry. Its Fargo center had 544 beds and employed about 400 people.

The buildings to be auctioned in bankruptcy court will be sold “as is” and the owner will be responsible for costs and for returning assets to creditors.

James Carlson, a PRACS founder and chief executive when lenders and owners abruptly shut down the operation, has said he believes there will be intense interest in the buildings.

Aldevron, which employs about 60 people in Fargo, is experiencing rapid growth and expanding its production facilities to be able to meet clinical trial standards for vaccines, but has not expressed public interest in expanding into clinical trial testing.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522