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Watauga Commissioners Receive Second Offer at $15.5M, Counter Both Offers With Minimum Bid of $16.5M

By Jesse Wood

Oct. 2, 2012. At Tuesday’s Watauga County Commissioners meeting, the board addressed two offers on the old Watauga High School and set an upset “threshold” of $16.5 million for minimum counteroffers.

Last week, Campus Crest Developments, LLC submitted an offer on the 75-acre property for $15 million plus a 10 percent commission for Rick Miller, a local real estate agent representing Campus Crest, that the county would pay.

Place Acquisition, LLC submitted the second offer on Monday night. This offer was for $15.5 million plus a 6 percent commission for Tim Hagaman, a local real estate agent.

This number is vastly different than the counteroffers that the board spoke of as recently as last summer when it received it received two offers worth $9 million and $10 million, whereby the board directed the county attorney to write new contracts countering at $20 million.

Chairman Nathan Miller said the two recent offers were “very good” after the meeting.

Both of the offers are from developers of student housing, and Commissioner Vince Gable mentioned that he didn’t want to see solely student housing on the property. If housing was included, Gable said he wanted it to be mix-use, so the property would be on the county tax rolls and provide jobs in retail and restaurants.

Tony Di Santi, the local lawyer representing Place Acquisition who presented to the board on Tuesday morning, said that Place Acquisition understands that a mix-use property is what will most likely be accepted by both the Watauga County Commissioners and the Boone Town Council.

Di Santi said he foresees a student house community “complimented” by retail with perhaps a conference center and administration buildings put to use by ASU.

After Gable seemed worried with ASU taking property of the tax rolls, Di Santi added that this project is a private development with “no relationship with the university,” so this property would not be tax exempt.

Miller representing Campus Crest Development said the developer’s plans were for 250 to 500 residential units along with mix-use for the rest of the property that would include retail.

The board directed representatives for both offers to resubmit bids based on the $16.5 million minimum for the next monthly meeting on Oct. 16.

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