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Town Uses Donation To Purchase Vacant Building in Downtown Banner Elk for Greenspace

The Town of Banner Elk recently purchased this vacant building at the corner of Main Street and Shawneehaw Avenue in downtown Banner Elk with funds from an anonymous donor. Photos by Ken Ketchie

By Jesse Wood

The Town of Banner Elk recently purchased the vacant building at the corner of Main Street and Shawneehaw Avenue in downtown Banner Elk with funds from an anonymous donor.

Mayor Brenda Lyerly confirmed the purchase on Monday.

“Well, the donor wants to remain anonymous, but they were not happy with the fact that there was an empty building there for so long,” Lyerly said.

Lyerly said that the contracts were all signed and that there is a current grace period before the transaction officially closes. She added that the town is in the process of receiving bids to have the building demolished and has received suggestions on what to do with the property from community members.

“We are going to make it a greenspace,” Lyerly said. “We’ll add nice benches and some things to beautify that corner. We are looking forward to taking down the building. It should be done pretty soon.”

“Everyone seems to be excited. Many times you do something in town that some people don’t like, but everyone is thrilled that building is going to be gone and are looking forward to making it very nice in the center of town right at that stop light.”

The space has been vacant for an estimated 10 years. Prior to sitting empty, two different restaurants, including The Corner Palate, operated out of the space. Lyerly noted that in the beginning, she believed the property served as someone’s woodworking shop.

Lyerly said she wouldn’t disclose the purchase price until the transaction was complete.

“We had it appraised and we offered more than the appraisal. It sat there for so long without anything done to it and it was not in very good shape. The value wasn’t what the owner thought,” Lyerly said.

The corner property, which featured the 4,700-square-foot building, was listed for $589,000. According to information recorded at the Avery County Tax Office, the taxable value was $393,100.

Surveyors checking out the property on Wednesday.

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