County picks up more Washington property

Published 8:41 pm Thursday, December 14, 2017


The county has purchased more property in the heart of downtown Washington.

Commissioners voted to purchase the Horne building on North Respess Street, between Second and Third streets, from Respess Street Properties LLC during the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners’ regular meeting on Dec. 4.

The property is a single-story building with brick façade and consists of 223, 225 and 227 N. Respess St., or three separate office spaces. Located behind the Beaufort County Courthouse and close to the County Administrative Office.

The building will be the newest addition to a cache of several properties the county has scooped up in the vicinity of the county offices over the past several years. The board purchased the old First Bank building on West Second Street in 2016; in the 2017-18 budget, the board approved taking out a $3 million that would pay for the renovation of the bank to be the home of a new County Administrative Office, as well as the county’s financial center.

In 2015, the county purchased the law office of county attorney David Francisco on West Third Street, directly across the driveway of the current County Administrative Office.

According to county Manager Brian Alligood, the purchases are a commonsense approach to long-term county government planning.

“We were — in looking at the piece of property — we needed some space. We needed some office space, and combined (with) the proximity, that allowed us to expand our footprint there,” Alligood said. “They’re not making any more property. We’re talking about a long-term plan — 15-20 years — and what that looks like in that area.”

Currently, office space is leased nearby to accommodate county staff, which isn’t an ideal situation, Alligood said.

“It’s more efficient for us to be together and not have outlying (offices); it helps for customer service to try to bring stuff together,” Alligood said. “If we have the opportunity to bring people back under our roof, it just makes sense to do that if we can.”

The cost was reduced to $228,000 to account for estimated cost of repairs to the building.

Commissioners voted 6-1 to purchase the property; Commissioner Hood Richardson voted against its purchase.