Upset bid process on hold

Published 5:40 pm Monday, June 30, 2014

Washington City Council on Monday tabled the decision to accept a local man’s bid on old City Hall.

William Cummings of Chocowinity formally made an offer on the historic building to Washington City Manager Brian Alligood two weeks ago. Cummings now will wait until City Council meets again July 14 to hear whether the city moves forward with his bid.

The city has a preservation agreement on the building before a buyer can purchase it. City officials also have a stipulation if an individual cannot complete the project, the city can purchase it back.

“When we first put old City Hall back out there for people to look at we treated it like any other piece of public property,” Alligood said. “This building is in the historic district and there are historic guidelines that this has to go by.”

Before moving forward, City Council is going to decide what to put in the contract with the buyer of the building.

“We want some kind of restrictive covenants created so we can have some kind of protection,” said William Pitt, Washington city councilman. “We need some type of protection.”

Pitt said the city is trying to protect itself and the buyer of the building. The last purchaser of the building couldn’t meet the grant requirements, according to Pitt.

City officials also don’t want the purchaser of the building to buy it and not do anything with it.

“If they don’t move on the project and we’re also going to agree on some time lines, but if they don’t meet them the city needs the opportunity to recapture it,” Alligood said.

The last time the building was purchased, the city bought it back for the original price, plus the cost of restrictive covenants material improvements made on the building.

“If the owner made improvements to increase the value of the building, and if we take it back we’ll provide some payment for that,” Alligood said.

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