By Jesse Wood
Sept. 5, 2012. According to records filed at the Watauga County Courthouse on Aug. 30, Samaritan’s Purse submitted an upset bid on the former Hayes Performing Arts Center in Blowing Rock.
The bid amount was $1,493,100 and represents a 5 percent increase from the initial bid by Wells Fargo Bank on Aug. 21.
Karina Petersen, media relations coordinator for Samaritan’s Purse, released a statement to High Country Press on Wednesday afternoon, saying that the organization hopes to use the old performing arts venue as a training facility, conference center and meeting space to support its relief and evangelism ministries around the world.
“We have staff and volunteers working in more than 100 countries as well as thousands of communities across the United States. Every year, many of them come to our international headquarters in Boone for training and meetings,” Petersen said.
“In the past we used the Broyhill Inn at Appalachian State University, but since it is now closed to outside organizations, the closest facility to meet our needs has been in Asheville. If we are able to purchase this facility, we would also at times make it available for special events for other Christian organizations and local churches that work to share the Good News of Jesus Christ,” Petersen added.
The initial-bid price and current upset bid is a one-third of what the grantors, Blowing Rock Community Arts Center Foundation, Inc., owes on the Wells Fargo Bank mortgage and is 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. He added that he would be surprised if it sells for more than tax value when considering the current state of the economy.
The last date for upset bids is Sept. 10, 2012, according to documents at the Watauga County Courthouse. The minimum amount for the next potential upset bid is $1,567,755 with a five-percent deposit of $78,387.
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: https://www.hcpress.com/news/apples-and-oranges-considering-hayes-center-pitfalls-when-predicting-appalachian-twin-theaters-future.html.