Washington to solicit proffers on properties

Published 1:59 pm Friday, September 3, 2010

Contributing Editor

During its Aug. 23 meeting, the Washington City Council discussed two properties the city owns — the old City Hall on Market Street and an old house on West Second Street.
The old City Hall is known by some as the DeMille Building. The house on West Second Street is directly behind the Tattoo Rich tattoo parlor on Bridge Street.
City Manager James C. Smith told the council there are “a number of developments there” in regard to the old City Hall, which was completed in 1884. Smith said a developer expressed interest in acquiring the property. The developer, later identified as Rehab Builders, expressed interest in placing two retail shops in the ground floor of the building and two apartments upstairs in the building, according to Smith
As for old City Hall and the house at 505-507 W. Second St., the city plans to sell them by using the upset-bid process.
The city had received a $1,000 offer from Robin Banks to buy the house. In his offer, Banks said he was willing to meeting all building codes and follow all historic-district guidelines in rehabilitating the house.
Under the upset-bid process, the city would accept a bid on the property. Once a bid from a prospective buyer is accepted, another prospective buyer has 10 days to offer a higher bid for the property. If a higher bid is not received in that 10-day period, the property will be sold to the entity making the initial bid. If a higher bid is received from another bidder, a new 10-day clock begins. The entity making the highest bid that is not upset within 10 days gets the property.
Smith told the council that Preservation North Carolina expressed interest in helping preserve the house.
The council decided that the person or entity that obtains the house will acquire it with certain restrictive covenants included in the deed to the property. The council plans to require the new owner to complete certain renovation and/or rehabilitation items regarding the house by specified dates.
“Our ultimate goal for that building is to save it,” Mayor Archie Jennings said.
Smith, in a brief interview Monday, said the Washington Harbor District Alliance, formerly known as Downtown Washington on the Waterfront, is working with the National Development Council on developing old City Hall, the building that now houses the Inner Banks Artisans Center and the former Fowle Building, all in downtown Washington.
The National Development Council was formed in 1969 to generate investment in underserved urban and rural areas across the United States, according to its website.
WHDA is involved with the study to determine possible uses of old City Hall.