Tryon asking for sealed bids on depot plaza property

Published 11:12 am Friday, December 23, 2011

Town to open bids Jan. 27

After receiving two upset bids on a 0.47-acre parcel a local dentist offered to purchase for $8,000, Tryon approved selling the property by sealed bids.

Tryon Town Council met Tuesday, Dec. 20, recessed that meeting and reconvened Wednesday, Dec. 21 in order to reject all bids and approve going to sealed bids with conditions on the sale.

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The town is giving until 3 p.m. Jan. 27 to receive sealed bids.

Conditions include that within 120 days of the sale of the property the buyer must obtain zoning and building permits to construct a minimum of 1,800 square foot stick building and obtain a certificate of occupancy within two years. (see full conditions, pg.  ).

Council discussed its process with residents, namely Bill Crowell who was the first to offer an upset bid to Dr. John Hooker’s original $8,000 offer.

Crowell said the lot is basically free at $8,000. He said his property is almost the same size as the depot plaza property and his property has a county tax value of $77,000. The depot plaza property survey came in at only $17,000 for land in downtown Tryon, with a pre-paved parking lot and mountain views, Crowell said.

“That’s why I jumped in on this,” Crowell said. “It’s free at $8k.”

Crowell also expressed concern over what he called the town’s “back door deal” with Dr. Hooker without the public’s knowledge. Council members and the mayor disagreed saying they followed proper process.

“I got involved in this mainly because I didn’t like the back door dealings with Hooker and the town,” Crowell said.

Crowell said Hooker had time to draw up plans for a building, while the rest of the public had 10 days to enter an upset bid.

Councilman Roy Miller said he took offense to Crowell’s comments.

“There’s was no back door,” Miller said. “You can have your own independent appraiser. You have put your upset bid in and that’s fine. That’s how the process works. “

Crowell said when the town wants to put a piece of property up for sale it should make it public.

Councilman Doug Arbogast and others said the town didn’t put the property up for sale. Hooker approached the town and said he had an idea and made an offer on the property.

Arbogast told Crowell if he’d come to the town and said he was interested in developing the property the town would have done the same for him.

“It’s not that the town decided to sell the piece of property,” Arbogast said. “Someone came in with an interest.”

The property is approximately 0.47 acres and lies off the depot parking lot. The property is bordered on the north by the railroad track and is 225 ft. long and just under 100 ft. wide.

Dr. Hooker submitted plans to construct a dental office.

Tryon’s conditions on depot plaza property purchase

  1. Within 120 days of the closing of the sale of the Property, the buyer shall obtain zoning and building permits for the development of the Property;
  2. Within two years of the closing of the sale of the Property, the buyer shall have obtained a certificate of occupancy for the development;
  3. The buyer shall construct a stick-built building on the Property of at least 1,800 heated square feet;
  4. The building’s exterior shall complement the existing Depot building in architectural design and in scale to the satisfaction of the Town Planning Board which shall review and approve the buyer’s building plans prior to the Town’s acceptance of a bid and which may require modifications to the plans as the Planning Board sees fit.
  5. The buyer shall replace on the Property any existing parking spaces lost due to the placement of the building.
  6. At closing, the buyer shall deposit the sum of $15,000.00 in an escrow fund, $3,000.00 of which shall be released to the Town if the buyer has not obtained zoning and building permits within the time set out in paragraph 8.a., above, and the undistributed balance of which shall be released to the buyer upon issuance of a certificate of occupancy for the building or shall be released to the Town if no certificate of occupancy has been obtained within the time set out in paragraph 8.b., above.
  7. Prospective bidders are welcome and encouraged to submit proposed building plans to the Planning Board at any time prior to January 27, 2012, for review and comment pursuant to paragraph 8.d., above.
  8. In addition, to be responsible, a bidder must be current on payment of all property taxes owed to the Town.
  9. The Town reserves the right to withdraw the property from sale at any time and the right to reject at all bids.