S.D. lands commissioner hopes third times are a charm on upcoming sales at Custer, Rapid City

Capitol News Bureau
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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Here’s something South Dakota School and Public Lands Commissioner Ryan Brunner might want to keep in mind, as he gets ready to try selling two pieces of state government property later this month: If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.

The former West River Extension building in Rapid City goes on the auction block September 9. And the juvenile corrections complex called STAR Academy south of Custer is up for auction September 16.

The sales are the third time in recent years that Brunner will try to get acceptable offers.

The northwest Rapid City building, at 1905 N. Plaza Boulevard off Deadwood Avenue, requires a minimum bid of $795,000. There’s an adjacent 2-acre parcel also for sale at $220,000 from the South Dakota State University Foundation.

The STAR Academy complex, five miles south of Custer on US 385, has two options: $2 million minimum bid for the entire 173-acre parcel including buildings; or two partials, of 40 acres and 133 acres, with corresponding minimum bids of $320,000 and $1,680,000.

“STAR Academy had one auction with no sale and one that sold with the contract for deed but we repossessed after a year. This is the first attempt since then to hold another auction for it,” Brunner said Friday.

“The Rapid City building is an office building that has received some interest but no bids at the previous two auctions,” he continued. “If no one bids the minimum amount then the properties cannot sell under state law.”

The Legislature gave his office permission in 2019 to use the internet to auction leases of state-owned minerals. Brunner said he conducted the first auction Thursday. But that authority doesn’t extend to sales of real estate, such as the upcoming STAR Academy and Rapid City building auctions.

“No, bidders or their representatives will have to be there in person and deposit the 10% down payment at the auction,” Brunner said.

“A representative for example could be a real estate agent, lawyer, or finance institution or anyone who is authorized to bid on their behalf, sign a purchase agreement, and pay the 10% down. They can be on the phone with their client or take a recess to call. However, someone does have to be there to sign and pay,” he said.

Using the internet for the oil-and-gas leases was a success, according to Brunner. It was the first oil and gas lease auction his office has held since 2018.

“It was a small auction with only two parcels but we used EnergyNet to do it online pursuant to the statute change we made two years ago,” he said. “It’s not a great market right now for oil and gas.”

The latest STAR Academy appraisal is here. The latest West River Extension appraisal is here.

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