Perdue announces 'integral step' toward Dix park

From staff reportsFebruary 15, 2012 

— Gov. Bev Perdue announced this afternoon that an appraisal has been received for the Dorothea Dix campus, a state-owned property that advocates hope to transform into a signature urban park.

The prospective value of the land, based on a fully rebounded market, is $86 million, according to the appraisal by Worthy & Wachtel, Inc. However, its current market value is $60 million, the appraisal found.

Perdue has directed the N.C. Department of Administration to seek a tenant representative to help the State Property Office in eventually moving the 1,300 employees at Dix to cost-effective office space.

In an announcement, Perdue called the move “an integral step toward ultimately converting the Dix campus into a public park.”

The governor also called for possible consolidation of facilities for all N.C. Department of Health and Human Services employees.

“The process will take considerable time to complete, but this is an important step in turning this beautiful downtown property into a public park for the enjoyment of all North Carolinians,” Perdue said.

“Taking a comprehensive look at DHHS’s current and long-term space needs will help us to transition to combined facilities that will help the department more efficiently serve the people of the state.”

Shortly before leaving office last year, former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker met with Perdue in hopes of reaching an agreement that would allow the city to acquire the 306-acre Dix site from the state.

“We are willing to pay a fair price,” Meeker told an audience of park backers.

Supporters hope it plays out like this: The city would acquire the land for an agreed-upon price, and a park advocacy group would raise $2 to $3 million in private donations to draw up a master plan for the park.

Meanwhile, the state would get five to seven years to vacate the property, which houses roughly 1,300 employees and remaining patients.

The appraisal was given today to Department of Administration officials and may be reviewed online at

The values are predicated on the assumption that there are no hazardous materials present on the site that would require a major clean-up.

The State Property Office will begin drafting a request-for-proposals immediately with the goal of having it posted by Feb. 24. Perdue emphasized the importance of remembering the original role of the Dix campus in aiding mental health patients. She also noted the importance of sustaining the Mental Health Trust Fund.

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