Buyers eye building
One offer will be selected today for property in city owned by county BY DAN NEPHIN, Staff Writer
A county-owned property on West King Street that once housed several government offices might become a grocery store.
Or maybe a restaurant or other commercial use.
After sitting vacant for several years and attracting no offers the previous times 225-233 W. King St. was listed, the county commissioners are expected to decide which of two offers to accept at their meeting today.
The first, for $325,000, came Friday but was increased to $350,000 on Tuesday morning when the county's real estate agent, Christine Sable, informed the prospective buyer's agent that a second offer had just come in.
Sable didn't identify the buyer at the meeting.
The second offer, by March Capital LLC and headed by developer Phil Wolgemuth, was for $360,000.
"The city has a real shortage of grocery stores, and that's a much-needed use downtown," Sable said. "On the other hand, I think if we're trying to turn around the neighborhood, I think that having a new commercial use -- a restaurant or retail -- would be great for the block.
"I think both offers are great offers. I don't think you could go wrong with either one of them," she said.
The commissioners discussed how long they should consider the offers and what might happen should another offer be made, then directed Sable to get the best and final offers from each party so they could make a decision at today's meeting.
The commissioners agreed both offers were good, as were the prospective buyers' plans.
"We can say with a great degree of certainty in both cases that we're getting better than fair-market value on both, so we can answer that question for the taxpayers," Commissioner Craig Lehman said.
"And this property is property that would transfer back to the tax rolls upon the completion of the sale."
They also said Sable did a good job.
"It goes to show about how using professionals to get things done that are in that area of expertise. They know how to market it and bring people to the table," said commissioners Chairman Scott Martin.
In January, Sable had offered to list the property for $399,000, saying she felt it was under-appraised and ripe for development. The last appraisal was in the $265,000 to $295,000 range.
The property went on the market Feb. 8 billed as an "outstanding half-acre redevelopment opportunity … this is a catalyst property in a block that is about to take off, just 1.5 blocks to the center of town."
The property includes a 6,590-square-foot building built in 1963.
It had also housed a district court and a probation and parole division.
Though both offers are less than the county's asking price, Sable said they take into account water damage that will need to be repaired. She said the repairs could cost $30,000 to $50,000, based on an estimate she got.
In the past, she said, potential buyers might have been scared off by fears the problems could cost $100,000 or more.
When the commissioners marketed the building several years ago, they were asking for at least $460,000. The county paid $275,000 for it in 1981.