By Jesse Wood
With the Skyline Membership Corporation announcing plans to move their Watauga County customer service center to Boone, the Town of Seven Devils sought to acquire the company’s property located at the town’s gateway – at the intersection of N.C. 105 and Seven Devils Road.
In January, the company announced its intentions to move its Watauga County office to the economic hub of the county, Boone. In February, the Seven Devils Town Council met for a “general discussion of the acquisition” of the Skyline property and building at 157 Seven Devils Rd, according to meeting minutes. Council then gave Mayor Larry Fontaine the authority to approach the company on behalf of the town.
In March, the Seven Devils Town Council agreed that while the property would be a “tremendous asset to the town … the biggest hurdle” would be how to purchase the property. Town Manager Debbie Powers noted that she would begin to look into grants.
On Friday, Mayor Fontaine told High Country Press that the idea of purchasing that property is now off the table as Skyline representatives contacted the town a few weeks ago after their board of directors meeting in West Jefferson.
“We made it very clear we would certainly accept it if they wanted to give it to us,” Fontaine said. “They decided they would continue to own it. It’s not for sale. That kind of took us out of the picture.”
Fontaine said the property, including seven acres and the Skyline building, is worth about $1.5 million, according to the town’s due diligence. Fontaine mentioned that the town intended to use the building for its town hall and then rent off any remaining space – as the building was a bit bigger than the needs of Seven Devils. He noted that the acreage was also “very attractive to us” to have more public land for folks to enjoy.
“It just didn’t pan out, so we’ll be assessing it as regular property from this point on,” Fontaine said.
A representative of Skyline Membership Corporation familiar with these matters wasn’t available on Friday.
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