City poised to own old City Hall againPublished 7:51pm Saturday, February 8, 2014
Old City Hall is getting a different owner, but not a new owner.
The City of Washington is taking back ownership of the old building — if the City Council approves that move during its meeting Monday. The council is scheduled to consider reconveyance of the property from Cedar Grove Plantation LLC to the city. The council also will consider allocating funds for the transfer of ownership and cancelation of the preservation agreement between the city and Cedar Grove Plantation LLC. The funding amount, according to a city document, is $25,091.
Laura Darre and Kathryn Pisciotta bought the building at 126 N. Market St. from the city for $25,000 in late 2011. They planned to convert the building into a “destination restaurant,” according to city officials.
To help the owners renovate the building, the city agreed to serve as a conduit for $150,000 in grant funding from the N.C. Main Streets Solution Fund. The two women were to provide $300,000 for renovations, according to a city document.
At its Dec. 12, 2011, meeting, the council adopted a resolution in support of seeking grant funding for the project. The Main Street Solutions Fund provides up to $200,000 to local governments for such projects.
The Main Street Solutions Fund goals are to provide direct financial benefit to small businesses, retain and create jobs associated with small businesses and spur private investment associated with small businesses.
Other than submitting a floor plan for their new property, the new owners had not provided any details concerning its renovation, said John Rodman, director of planning and development for the city, in a brief interview in December 2011.
The sale of old City Hall required the approval of the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners, which was given Dec. 12, 2011, during the board’s meeting.
When the city took sole possession of old City Hall from Beaufort County several years ago, there were some provisions in that takeover agreement concerning any future sale of the building. One of those provisions was that if an offer to buy the building was less than $60,000, the county must give its permission before it could be sold for less than $60,000.
Old City Hall was built in 1884. Its lower floor once housed firefighting apparatus, with city offices on the upper floor.