Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1189305

Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 22, 2014

Vacant lot to be sold

By David Hotle | May 28, 2014

The Washington City Council took the first steps to selling the vacant lots in the 200 block of South Marion Avenue that formerly held the Tienda la Cruz grocery store, which collapsed and was removed by the city.
During a special meeting Tuesday, city administrator Brent Hinson outlined the first steps that would be required for the city to sell the property. He said the council would continue discussions on the sale during its June 17 meeting. He said that the lot was purchased by the city for $12,500 and the remains of the building were removed in late 2011 at a cost of about $200,000. The council was asked what terms would be acceptable for marketing the properties.
He said that an arrangement for an option to purchase property from the neighboring Marion Avenue Baptist Church had been discussed, but no arrangement had been made.
The initial recommendation was for the city to sell the property to the Washington Economic Development Group (WEDG) on contract. WEDG would then, with the help of a commercial realtor, market the property. During the discussion, Hinson said that the property would be marketed at a sub-market rate.
“I believe the combination of a good marketing team, low sale price, and possibility of TIF tax rebates should present an attractive package that will be the most likely to get a positive result without presenting any risk to the city,” Hinson said.
During discussion the council asked Hinson to determine the market price estimate of the land from a commercial broker, include in the development plan that the city would redo the sidewalks by the property to streetscape standards, and look at a marketing budget of $5,000 for the property.
“This is a long-arc project,” WEDG director Ed Raber told the council. “It is not going to happen soon.”
Hinson said that he believed that someone who would buy the land to develop would be a local person.
In other business, the council:
• approved allowing the Kewash Trail half marathon;
• approved a draft agreement with PAWS and More for services; and
• discussed changes to the golf cart ordinance.

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