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Update: Commissioners Accept Templeton’s $18.9M Bid for Old WHS Site for Student Housing, Commercial Use

By Jesse Wood

Nov. 13, 2012. At the Watauga County Board of Commissioners regular scheduled meeting on Tuesday, the board accepted Templeton Properties’ $18.9 million bid on the old Watauga High School property.

Once the five percent commission ($947,400) is taken off the top of the purchase price, the county would net $18,000,600.

Phil Templeton had a prior engagement and did not attend the meeting, however Templeton did provide the board with a letter outlining some potential commercial uses.

“Templeton Properties’ plan for the property includes both commercial uses and student housing units modeled after some of the most attractive and successful projects in the southeast. While these units would be close to campus, they would be far removed from the sensitive residential neighborhoods and largely out of public view. Traffic congestion as well as noise and light pollution would be minimal,” the letter said.

Those commercial possibilities include a hotel/convention center; a major grocery chain; a multi-screen theater; a national retailer such as Kohl’s, Steinmart, Target and smaller retail shops; and a restaurant such as an Olive Garden, Red Lobster, K & W Cafeteria and South of the Border. 

The amount of land devoted to student housing and commercial would be determined by market studies and project designers, Templeton added in the letter.

The board unanimously approved the bid with no discussion.

“I hope it goes through, and I hope we are able to work with Templeton and the Town of Boone to get this done for the citizens of the county and the town,” Chairman Nathan Miller said. 

A clause in the offer agreement includes 180-day inspection period, where Templeton Properties can back out of contract if the site is not suitable or has flaws. 

The Town of Boone would have to approve zoning changes and water allocations if the project is to take place. 

“Before the purchaser can say with certainty what the end development plan for the property will be, a great deal of time, effort and money has to be spent performing the customary due diligence,” Templeton said in the letter. “Market studies, topographic maps, an ALTA survey, environmental studies and soil tests must be performed. A comprehensive review of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) and the numerous state and federal developmental regulations must be made.” 

In the past, Boone’s UDO has caused Templeton frustration as he has tried to build a medical clinic on State Farm Road for nearly six years. That medical clinic and the special use permit that Templeton sought for the facility initially met all the criteria of the UDO until the Boone Board of Adjustments prohibited medical facilities from being placed in a R-1 zone – eventually leading to the board to not approve of the special use permit.

Mayor Loretta Clawson lives on VFW Drive, one of the access roads to the proposed clinic, and she has been vocally opposed to the ideal of a medical clinic in her backyard.

The Boone Board of Adjustments and Templeton have been engaged in an ongoing lawsuit regarding the medical clinic.

In the past, members of the Boone Town Council have expressed the disappointment with the old Watauga High School sitting dormant for the last several years. When Watauga County received numerous offers and inquiries about the property two months ago, Rennie Brantz mentioned he was excited to see something fresh happening on High School Drive. Brantz particularly liked the idea of a commercial shopping center on the property. 

Going forward, it will be interesting to see how well the Boone Town Council and the Templeton family work together to get this property developed – especially considering the rocky past and current litigation between the two entities.

Check back for more information on these developments.

Templeton’s Bid on Old WHS Withstands 10-Day Upset Bid, Commissioners To Address Issue on Nov. 13

By Jesse Wood

Nov. 9, 2012. Templeton Properties’ bid on the old Watauga High School withstood the 10-day upset period for upset bids. The deadline for any upset bids was yesterday at 5 p.m.

According to the “Purchase and Sale Agreement,” Templeton Properties LP offered $18,948,000. Once the five percent commission ($947,400) is taken off the top of the purchase price, the county would net $18,000,600. Phil Templeton, president of Templeton Properties, signed the agreement.

The previous offer from Campus Crest Development was $18 million, an offer that would net the county $17.1 million after a five percent commission to Rick Miller of Millers Properties.

The Watauga County Board of Commissioners will address this bid and approve or deny it at the next regularly scheduled commissioners meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Although, the commissioners would have like to seen higher bids, they’ve been recently pleased with the amount of interest the property has had in the past two months and the fact that the nearly $19-million offer is much more than most recent $9 million appraisal conducted by the Charlotte-based Integra Realty Resources in 2011. 

Templeton, who said he would be glad to talk in the near future, declined to give any details on what he has in store for the property, stating that he hasn’t officially been notified that he his the high bidder.