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Published October 27, 2011, 10:08 PM

VenuWorks Wants Back In At Alerus Center

The Alerus Center Commission is tackling some of the work that needs to be done after it parted ways with its management. One of the many tasks: Who will hold the liquor license?

The Alerus Center Commission is tackling some of the work that needs to be done after it parted ways with its management. One of the many tasks: Who will hold the liquor license? State law prohibits a city from holding a liquor license. A private vendor has submitted the first proposal.

And this first proposal actually came from VenuWorks. VenuWorks is the company that will end its management contract with the Alerus Center on December 31st.

"VenuWorks is only another third party. They do not have anymore in so to speak, or they do not have a foot in the door so to speak," Alerus Center Commission member Curt Kreun said.

But the management firm has put in the first proposal for liquor and ticketing services. VenuWorks would provide ticketing through TicketMaster, and payroll for the Alerus Center's executive director.

"We want to put out an RFQ, that's a request for quotes, so that we can take a look at all of our options to make sure that we make the best decision and the most economical and business-type decision," Kreun said.

Kreun says the proposal from VenuWorks isn't all inclusive. They can pick and choose what they want, if anything. This proposal includes an annual fee of $19,000 for the firm to hold the liquor license. VenuWorks is offering a $190,000 salary for the executive director.

"There has to be a person that is actively involved with the liquor portion of it. And so one of the options could be an employee of the company making the proposal and working with the alerus center," Kreun said.

Another option is to turn all employees over to a third party. In this case, the city would just provide the facility. But this option takes a lot of income away from the city.

"A lot of details need to be worked out during this transition period. And as I stated earlier, what we really want to do is look for the best model, the best business model that we can find that fits the needs of the Alerus Center," Kreun said.

Gathering all of the proposals could take some time, and Kreun says the commission is willing to put time into the process to get it right.

About 50 percent of Alerus Center profits come from liquor sales. Kreun says he believes the current liquor license ends at the end of November. The RFQ's won't be ready at that point, but they can go on a month to month basis with VenuWorks until they find a solution.

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