Old City Hall may have a buyer

Published 12:56 am Thursday, November 10, 2011

Washington may have a buyer for old City Hall.

During its meeting Monday, the City Council will consider adopting a resolution authorizing the advertisement of an offer to purchase the property, also known as the original Washington fire house, at 126 N. Market St.

The removal of the “for sale” sign that once was attached to old City Hall could be a sign there is a prospective buyer for the building, which is owned by the city. (WDN Photo/Mike Voss)

The city, through the Washington Harbor District Alliance, is expected to receive an offer to purchase old City Hall, according to the tentative agenda for the council’s meeting. An item that’s part of the council’s agenda packet includes the following note: “Please note, this material will be supplemented with additional information, including the specifics (amount, etc.) of the Offer at the meeting.”

At its June 13 meeting, the council authorized WHDA to solicit offers to purchase old City Hall. WHDA’s Trent Tetterton is overseeing the effort. The city opted to use the upset-bid process to sell old City Hall.

The purchaser of old City Hall gets the property under certain conditions.

“It is further proposed that the preservation and rehabilitation work will commence within thirty (30) days of receipt of all required certificates as well as permits and be completed within twelve (12) months of acquisition. As a condition of the sale, the purchaser will enter a Conservation, Historic Preservation and Maintenance Agreement and Deed of Easement for Historic Preservation, through which restrictive covenants will be placed on the property,” reads a document in the agenda packet.

There are other provisions regarding the sale of old City Hall.

In June during a council meeting, Tetterton and City Attorney Franz Holscher discussed those conditions.

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. Tetterton said it’s his understanding that if the building sells for more than $60,000, that anything in excess of $60,000 would be equally divided between the city and county.

Holscher said if an offer to buy the building is less than $60,000, the county must give its permission before it can be sold for less than $60,000. He also said if the building sells for more than $60,000, the city gets credit for “any expenses that we have spent on old City Hall that were not funded by grant dollars.”

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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