|City agrees to purchase additional downtown real estate|
|June 24, 2010 Dawn Bowen|
Gering city officials have agreed to purchase a piece of property that is said to be prime real estate in Gering’s downtown area.
The property, at the northeast corner of 10th and M streets, is owned by McKee Company Inc. and includes structures that house several businesses including Prairie Pines Quilt Shop, Re-Nu Upholstery, J&L Laundromat, the Blacksmith’s Shop and a former gas station.
“What we’re getting is a one-half block of prime commercial property at the corner of 10th and M,” City Councilwoman Jill McFarland said on Friday.
McFarland said ongoing plans to open a grocery store in the former Sun Mart building on the southeast corner of 10th and M streets – a building also owned by the city – increases the potential value of this property.
“Pending the possible opening of the grocery store, the property to the north should obviously become a prime location,” she said.
The Gering City Council voted unanimously on Monday, June 14, to purchase the property and approved a contract between the city and McKee Company through its president Larry R. McKee.
The agreed purchase price is $313,139, which McFarland said is the appraised market value of the property. The taxable value of the property is listed at $192,821, according to county tax records.
Funds to purchase the property will come from the 30 percent portion of the one-percent sales tax that is designated for downtown development, so there will be no utility or tax impact on citizens, she said.
An earnest money deposit of $5,000 has been paid in advance, with the remaining balance to be paid at closing. The city agreed to delay the closing date until December to allow McKee time to remove and relocate items that are currently being stored in a portion of the property.
“That’s why we have a closing date six months in the future,” McFarland said.
The city has agreed that all current leases on the property will remain in effect, but will not be extended past Dec. 30.
The city is considering the future demolition of the structures that are currently on the property. Several of the structures – the gas station, upholstery shop and the blacksmith building – will likely qualify for grant funds through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), alleviating the cost of demolition, McFarland said. McKee has agreed to accomplish the application for grant funds for all structures that may be subject to the NSP demolition grants. Those applications and contracts must be entered into before July 31.
Of specific concern to the city are the fuel tanks on the property at the site of the former gas station. According to the city’s agreement with McKee, the cost to remove the fuel tanks is estimated at $11,000. McFarland said an application for NSP funds is likely to be approved. If, however, the cost is not covered by grant funding, McKee will accomplish the removal of the tanks and the city has agreed to increase the overall purchase price by $11,000.
McFarland said there is a possibility that grant funds will be available to cover the cost of relocating the businesses currently operating at the location. Additional information will be forthcoming from city leaders as the project proceeds, she said.
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