By Jesse Wood & Paul T. Choate
Aug. 21, 2012. On Tuesday, Aug. 21, at 12:30 p.m., nearly a dozen people attended the foreclosure auction of the Robert and Miriam Hayes Performing Arts Center in Blowing Rock inside the Watauga County Courthouse lobby. Only one entity bid on the property, though – Wells Fargo Bank, at the tune of $1,422,000.
That initial-bid price is a one-third of what the grantors, Blowing Rock Community Arts Center Foundation, Inc., owes on the Wells Fargo Bank mortgage and a fraction of the property’s tax value. Currently, the outstanding debt on the mortgage is $4,465,631.
In recent years, the floundering center could never overcome its substantial debt incurred from the construction and operation of the performing arts theater. The 26,500-square-foot building, which held 348 seats and was completed in 2006, cost nearly $10 million to construct, and opened its doors with $5 million in debt.
The property is located off of U.S. 321 in Blowing Rock. The building sits on 4.51 acres, according to the foreclosure filing.
Last month, Bill Tester, appraisal director and revaluation coordinator with the North Carolina Office of Information Technology Services, said the tax value of the property is $3,847,900. Tester added that he would be surprised if it sells for more than tax value.
“It depends on properties like this. Since they are special use properties, they will generally sell for more – at least in the past,” Tester said. “But since the real estate market has gone down substantially in the last 4 to 5 years – at least statistically – the real estate values are almost exactly what the tax values are currently.”
The last date for upset bids is Aug. 31, 2012, according to documents at the Watauga County Courthouse. The minimum amount for the next potential upset bid is $1,493,100 with a five-percent deposit of $74,655.
This is the second high profile theater foreclosure in less than a year in the High Country. The Appalachian Twin Theater, of course, foreclosed last fall.
See article about both theaters that was published July 25: http://www.hcpress.com/news/apples-and-oranges-considering-hayes-center-pitfalls-when-predicting-appalachian-twin-theaters-future.html.