Proposed sales of grain elevators, fertilizer buildings and other properties owned by Farmers Cooperative Assn. received approval Monday.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John Flannagan approved the property sales as recommended by the co-op's board of directors, which met Monday morning to review bids submitted during an auction last week.
Flannagan's approval means that a development group led by Overland Park attorney Robert Laing will pay $3.175 million for the bulk of the co-op's properties 21 separate parcels, in communities from Burlingame to Bethany, Mo. Laing has said that he wants to operate at least some of the properties as elevators, while selling off others.
The decision comes as Farmers Cooperative Assn., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September, has decided not to accept wheat during this year's harvest, said Larry Butel, chairman of the co-op's board of directors.
But that doesn't mean the new owner won't.
"We hope this will allow (the elevators) to be ready for fall harvest," Butel said. "Wheat harvest is a question I can't answer. We're not sure when the transfer will take place.
"We'll just have to wait and see."
Laing's purchase includes co-op properties in Edgerton, Overbrook, Scranton, Topeka, Perry, Midland, North Lawrence, Oskaloosa, Meriden, Winchester, Denton, Atchison, Lancaster, Burlingame and Pauline, plus Bethany, Mo., and Rushville, Mo.
The price does include any remaining grain inventory.
Other sale bids approved Monday by Flannagan:
$520,000 for the South Lawrence elevator, at 20th Street and Moodie Road, and $200,000 for the co-op's office building at 2121 Moodie Road, to Monte Milstead, of Lawrence. Milstead said he would not operate the properties himself but would consider offers.
$780,000 for the Ampride service station and convenience store at 1000 E. 23rd St., to Duane Schwada, owner of Mastercraft Corp.
$280,000 for a retail store in Gardner, to Network Consulting Inc., a telecommunications consultant in Gardner. Owner Larry Alsup said he had no immediate plans for the property.
Up next for the co-op is selling equipment and other personal property such as trucks, sprayers and stock tanks at auction July 18 in Pauline, July 19 in Lawrence and July 25 in Atchison.