EAU CLAIRE Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – UW-Eau Claire’s future multi-million-dollar Sonnentag complex promises a new event center and a new field house. Now, the project is also the focus of a lawsuit. UWEC’s Blugold real estate foundation is being sued for breach of contract and misrepresentation. According to the lawsuit filed in Eau Claire County circuit court, in 2017, the foundation entered into an exclusivity agreement with the plaintiffs Southside holdings and Big River Education Center.
The lawsuit claims local developers sold a desired property to the UWEC foundation that was needed for the Sonnentag center. In exchange, the developers were promised the right to purchase and develop the former student transit center to turn it into the Big River Education Center.
Now the former student transit center property is slated to be parking for the Sonnentag center, remaining with the foundation. The developers claim they put a significant amount of money into research and projects for the promised property, adding that they believe the foundation’s employees were aware there was no intention to uphold the deal.
We reached out to the Blugold foundation. Its president sent over a statement saying in part quote “over the seven years that this project has been in development, there have been many changes. The Big River Education Center was one of the projects that we had contemplated, as evidenced by the publicity associated with it early on.”
In another statement, Peter Hoeft of Southside Holdings says quote “we are disheartened that we have to take this matter to court since we have held up our end of an agreement” adding ” we were so excited to be working to benefit the Eau Claire campus, and why it is so unfortunate the foundation misled us. End quote.
According to the lawsuit, the Blugold foundation has 45 days to respond. The local developers are seeking a trial by jury as well as a temporary injunction to prevent any work on the potential development of the promised property. For now, the foundation says this will not delay the construction of the Sonnentag facilities.