By Ty Johnson
Published in News on February 13, 2013 1:46 PM
The former Arts Council building on Ash Street is seen early today. The Goldsboro City Council, which had once planned to convert the structure into an Air Force museum, decided Tuesday to have the building demolished and to sell the property.
The Goldsboro City Council will demolish the former Arts Council building at the corner of Ash and Spence streets and sell the property, council members decided at a retreat work session Tuesday.
The council spent $500,000 on the 14,000-square-foot former bank building with the intent of converting it into an Air Force museum.
The purchase allowed the Arts Council to move to its current location downtown.
After $163,500 of consulting work performed over the course of seven months, the Air Force museum was determined to be a $7 million construction project with an annual operating budget shortfall of more than $300,000, which the consultants assumed would be filled by fundraising.
But the project stalled and Councilman Chuck Allen asked that the property be considered for sale at the council's first meeting of 2013 and it was placed on the retreat agenda.
The property was appraised at $455,000. Without the building, the property was appraised to be worth $518,000.
On Tuesday, Allen said the building needs to come down.
"The building is a liability as far as selling the property," he said
Demolishing the building would cost about $60,000, Assistant City Manager Tasha Logan said, but because of widespread asbestos in the structure, abatement would run another $230,000 to $250,000.
Estimates provided in November by the city's Inspections Department showed the full demolition of the 42-year-old building would cost $310,000.
The council also holds an option to purchase two additional adjacent properties owned by Lynwood Williford, which could make the property more attractive to a potential developer.
The council purchased the option, which runs out in March, in October for $3,000.
The two additional properties, with the buildings, would increase the value of the property as a whole to $592,000. Without the buildings, the estimated worth of the property is $604,000.
Council members also agreed to sell off property the city owns at the corner of Wayne Memorial Drive and New Hope Road.
The 19.5 acres of land on Wayne Memorial Drive was purchased in 2001 for $2.2 million as a proposed location for a civic center.
After several failed partnerships and the economic downturn, however, the civic center idea was scrapped. At the 2012 City Council retreat, Allen asked that the city consider selling the property.
The option on the property on Wayne Memorial Drive, which is adjacent to the Wayne Community College campus, shows the entire 19.5-acre track is worth $3.165 million. If subdivided, the six-acre corner portion of the property was estimated to be worth $2.156 million on its own, with the remaining plot valued at $1.854 million.
Members of the council asked if Wayne Community College was interested in the property. City Manager Scott Stevens said he had discussed the property with WCC President Kay Albertson and that while the college was interested, it was not in a financial situation that would permit such a purchase.
Stevens suggested the city place signs on the property and consider offers for it, in whole or in part, but asked if the council was comfortable with using the appraisal values as pricepoints.
Allen suggested the city should not count on receiving much more than the appraised values.
"Realistically, you're not going to get much more," he said.
Mayor Pro Tem Michael Headen said it was an issue of maximizing value.
"We're just trying to get the most bang for our buck," he said.
When the college's role in the transaction came up again, District 6 Councilman Gene Aycock mentioned he would like to see the property utilized by Wayne Community College, but said he would not be interested in giving the land to the school.
"Really?" Mayor Al King asked.
Aycock said since the city spent money on it, the city should be paid for it.
"They didn't spend a dollar in speculation," he said.
Both the land near the college and the former Arts Council building were purchased with money collected from the city's occupancy tax.
Because both properties were purchased with Occupancy Tax money, the return from selling either of the properties would go back into that fund.
The retreat was to continue today at the Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course.