STERLING – A local economic development group has a new tool in its arsenal to attract businesses – the old Double G Arena.
Last June, the Greater Sterling Development Corp. bought the property for $479,600 from the Schreiner Trust. In 2011, it was listed for $1.2 million, but its price had dropped to $649,000 by 2013.
The property is at 24236 Lincoln Road, just west of Sterling near an Interstate 88 interchange. Such junctions are often considered good places for businesses. In 2006, the Walmart Distribution Center opened in that area and now employs about 800.
Last fall, the development group held an auction at Double G and sold all the buildings on the property.
“The buildings are still up because of the winter,” Heather Sotelo, the corporation’s executive director, said in an interview this week.
The organization has said it wants the 40-acre property so that it can be developed.
“We hope to have a big business go there,” Sotelo said in an interview nearly a year ago.
In February 2013, Heath Passmore, who managed Double G, posted on the organization’s Facebook page to ask people to refrain from spreading gossip about the status of Double G, which was a venue for horse shows, training and competition.
Double G, he said, appreciated “all the support everyone has given us in this 4-year journey. We tried to keep things going and got burnt by taking a person’s word.”
The posting drew a bunch of comments praising Double G. One woman wrote: “Thanks for everything you guys have done to make Double G a great place to run. Even though I have trouble staying on my horse.”
The property had seating for 1,850 people, a warm-up area, two outdoor barns with 200 stalls, a large parking area, and a large store, according to its listing.
In a Facebook message to Sauk Valley Media, Passmore wrote, “We are no longer affiliated with Double G. ... We were just managers. It was not our auction. That’s all I have to say to you. You will have to figure the rest out yourself.”