Administrative chief Rick Hardin had a more positive manager’s report than normal at the end of the Zebulon Town Board’s June 2 meeting.
“It’s done, they’re transferred, we have the checks in the bank, so they’re out of the way,” Hardin said, referring to the sale of two of the three surplus buildings the town has tried to get off its hands for several years.
The former council chambers, police station and town hall properties were put on the market in 2010 after town staff moved to the Zebulon Municipal Complex. They saw no serious action for about three years before town leaders agreed to drastically cut the asking prices.
Things began to turn around last fall. The only building that still has yet to sell is the former council chambers and even that property is at the center of a bidding battle, with the current highest bid being $25,300 more than the town’s asking price.
The eighth and most recent upset bid of $110,300 on the council chambers, located at 109 E. Horton St., was entered by Larry Ford, according to town staff. Five different entities have made upset bids on the property since the first offer of $20,000 was rejected by the town board last September.
The most recent deadline to submit another upset bid on the former council chambers was set for Monday, June 16.
The old police station, at 111 E. Vance St., was the first to go. The winning bid of $116,500, entered by former town attorney Andy Gay on behalf of a family partnership, was finalized in May. Gay previously cited personal reasons for his interest in the former police station.
Town leaders initially considered demolishing the former police station because of several issues, including asbestos, that would require extensive renovation for it to retain value. Instead, they made out $81,500 in the green after an upset bid process ran its course.
The former town hall, located at 100 N. Arendell Ave., sold after John Muter’s May 21 bid of $125,000 stood. The town was asking $145,000 for that property.
Muter purchased the building with plans to relocate his construction company’s headquarters from the east side of town, where he says he gets a weak Internet signal.
The town planned to use money from the sale of the three downtown properties to replenish about $750,000 in reserve funds it used to pay for renovations to the new town hall and police station.
If the council chambers building sold at the current high bid, the town would have $351,800 to show for the sale of the three properties combined.