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VOL. 117 | NO. 167 | Thursday, September 18, 2003

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CCDC to re-purchase Family Dollar building

CCDC to Take Back Family Dollar Building

Owners failed to meet renovation deadlines

ANDREW BELL

The Daily News

Members of the Center City Development Corp. voted unanimously to exercise a contractual option that will return ownership of the vacant Family Dollar building at 94 S. Main St. to the CCDC.

The buildings current proprietors, Ramesh and Manju Gupta, purchased the three-story, 25,000-square-foot structure for $400,000 from the CCDC in February.

At a Wednesday meeting of the CCDC board, Center City Commission staff members reported that the buildings owners failed to meet certain renovation deadlines outlined in the purchasing contract, giving the board the option to repurchase the building by year-end 2003.

CCDC board member John Elkington said in light of ongoing redevelopment projects along Main Street and in other areas of Downtown, Theres a great possibility that someone else would want to purchase this property.

The CCDC originally purchased the building for $456,390.

Change of hands. Elkington said under a special arrangement in the contract, the board can place the building back onto the market and make it available for new bids following proper notification to the buildings owners.

The good thing about this situation is that you can find a buyer for the building without having to own it first, he said.

CCC president Jeff Sanford said the buildings owners indicated that problems brought on by the July 22 windstorm, as well as plans for an upcoming family event, impeded renovation efforts that would have created retail space in the historic structure.

We certainly sympathize with them, but when tens of millions of dollars are being invested on this block, we cant sit idly by, Sanford said.

He added that the Guptas can participate in the rebidding process.

Elkington said it would be a mistake for the board to ignore the owners failure to fulfill renovation work requirements while simultaneously requiring other owners on the Main Street Demonstration Block to fulfill their obligations.

That would be a disservice to everyone else, Elkington said.

Projects currently underway along the Downtown block include the Perez building, which is located across the street from the Family Dollar building and was purchased from the board for conversion into condominium units. Renovation work is underway on the development.

A larger project. Myron Hughes, CCC vice president of planning and development, said the Guptas purchased two buildings that neighbor the Family Dollar building about three years ago with the intent to invest about $6 million in renovation work that would have created 40 to 50 apartment units and retail space in all three buildings.

They will retain ownership of the two buildings.

Hughes said the Guptas failed to appear at last months CCDC board meeting to discuss renovation progress on the three buildings, which he said were built in the 1950s.

Its hard to say how much in renovation costs is needed now because the buildings have remained vacant and they will deteriorate with time passed, he said.

The CCDC originally opted to sell the building to the Guptas over a competing bidder, Performa Entertainment Real Estate Inc., which wanted to renovate the buildings first floor into commercial space for a potential seafood restaurant, the second floor into office space for Isaac Hayes and the third floor into office space for Performa.

Also at Wednesdays meeting, the board agreed to grant a $75,000 development loan to Bluff City Group LLC, developers of a building at 440 N. Main St. in the Pinch District, for a $2 million project that would revitalize the property into a 19,000-square-foot, mixed-use commercial and residential space.

 

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 20 39 190
BUILDING PERMITS 0 305 3,056
BANKRUPTCIES 17 135 753
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 53 329
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0