By Jesse Wood
Aug. 27, 2014. The Watauga County Board of Commissioners will hold a special meeting on Thursday, Aug. 28, to consider offers received for the county-owned property at 347 Oak St. and potentially start the upset bid process.
The county initially put the property, which consists of a 2,394-square-foot building on .324 acres, on the market for $425,000 with no response. They reduced it to $210,000 and then received more interest on the property.
In April, the commissioners rejected a bid for $150,000, which would have netted the county $142,500 after a commission to GovDeals.com, an online government surplus auction.
At a meeting earlier this year, Finance Director Margaret Pierce noted to commissioners at the meeting that the land value of the R-3 zoned land was about $201,000 and the building was valued at $169,000.
At its second August meeting, County Manager Deron Geouque noted that the county had received two additional offers. Joseph Greer submitted a letter of intent for $100,000 on the property with no broker fee, and John Winkler submitted an offer for $150,000 with a 180-day due diligence period to see about obtaining zoning permits from the Town of Boone.
Commissioners again noted that $150,000 was low.
Commissioner Perry Yates noted that whoever buys the property would likely end up spending $30,000 to $40,000 demolishing the building. In the past, commissioners have discussed the fire department burning the building down as an training exercise.
At the Aug. 19 meeting, commissioners had tabled a decision on the offers until September 16.
Board Clerk Anita Fogleman said that the county recently received a higher offer ($160,000) from Winkler.
Once the board accepts one offer, then the upset bid process begins, and the next offer must be 5 percent more than the previous offer and received in 10 days or less. All terms for any upset bids must be the same as the original offer. County Attorney Four Eggers told the board earlier this month that it reserves the right to not accept the last bid standing.
The property was formerly owned by New River Behavioral HealthCare before its well-documented demise nearly three years ago, and in October 2011, the Watauga County Board of Commissioners agreed to finance New River’s payroll and other obligations by loaning the entity half of the property tax value of the Oak Street property and another parcel in Boone with a future advanced deed of trust.
The county eventually foreclosed on the property, and now it is trying to sell the property and recoup funds.
The meeting starts at 5 p.m. and will be held in the commissioners board room in the Watauga County Administration Building.