American Legion reaches a deal to sell its buildingThe name on the title and the sign on the front of the building will change, but Farmington American Legion commander Leonard Weisbrich promises the club itself is not going anywhere.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
The name on the title and the sign on the front of the building will change, but Farmington American Legion commander Leonard Weisbrich promises the club itself is not going anywhere.
The Legion has signed a purchase agreement to sell its building at 10 Eighth St. Weisbrich didn’t disclose the purchase price, but he said it will be enough to take care of a $760,000 debt from a loan the club took out to complete repairs following a 2008 fire.
“We’re going to come out of it free and clear so we don’t have the burden of the finances anymore,” Weisbrich said.
The club had been making payments on the loan, but late last year the failure to submit some required paperwork led the bank to request the repayment of the entire loan. The club didn’t have the money, and a realtor has been working since October to find options to either sell the building or refinance the loan.
The club has agreed to sell the building it has occupied for more than two decades to a pair of new owners. Craig Loeschke and John Nissen plan to turn the building into a sports bar. The closing is scheduled to take place in May.
“It’s a sad thing that it’s no longer going to be known as what people know it as, but it’s the only way we could stay in business,” Weisbrich said. “The biggest fear I had was we were going to get thrown out the door, and we’re not.”
Under the terms of the purchase agreement the Legion and its satellite clubs, Sons of the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary, will continue to have access to the club for meetings. The organization will also continue to sell pull tabs from the location.
Loeschke, a Navy veteran, said it was important for him to help the Legion continue to operate.
Loeschke and Nissen still have plenty of details to work out before they’re ready to open their doors. They’re still settling on a name, and they’d like to make some interior changes to the building. They hope to be open for business by June 1.
“We want to build it a little bit bigger in the inside by taking out an interior wall,” Loeschke said.
Loeschke said it’s been a longtime dream to own a restaurant. He was a cook in the Navy, and Nissen has worked a cook at the Legion.
“It is very exciting,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of people around town that are excited about it.”
Legion, SAL and auxiliary members discussed the sale Monday night. Weisbrich said the club will send a letter to members this week explaining what is going on.
The main message, Weisbrich said, is that the important things tied to the Legion will continue much as they have been.
“The charter isn’t gone, because that’s what people think, the whole thing is gone,” Weisbrich said. “Memorial Day will happen. Everything will stay the same.”