by Joanna Rutter
A Greensboro City Council committee passed a motion to sell the Dorothy Bardolph Human Services Building to developer and restaurateur Marty Kotis on Tuesday afternoon.
The city-owned office building, which leases space to several nonprofits and is located across the street from the downtown Depot, was appraised for the city at $1,035,000 by commercial real estate appraiser Alan W. Sutton, but will be sold to Kotis for $900,000, who made the highest offer.
The motion passed unanimously at an infrastructure committee meeting, after which it will go to the full council for approval.
According to Guilford County public access tax records, the seven parcels of property for sale that make up the Bardolph building and its parking lot at Church and Washington streets have a total appraised value of $3,054,100 based on market values as of the date of the last countywide reappraisal in 2012.
“The city’s not in the real estate business,” said Ted Partrick, the city’s engineering manager, explaining why the city agreed to sell the property below its more recently appraised value of $1,035,000. “The city’s not set up to be landlords.”
Partrick said Sutton appraised the building in part by comparing it to similar commercial buildings in the area. His appraisal was conducted in 2015, said Partrick.
The building was renovated in 1984 with federal money to create office space for non-profit social service providers, a majority of which were not programs run or funded by the city. Past tenants have included Youth Focus, Family Life Council, and the Adult Center for Enrichment.
Partrick said the building has several renovation needs, such as a new HVAC system, that would have required significant investment because of its age — the earliest section was built in 1911, and other sections were added through 1956 — and there is no longer any outside funding available to make the necessary updates.
“We’re not evicting anybody tomorrow or anything like that,” Assistant City Manager David Parrish said. “We felt like it was no longer in our purpose and intent as local government to maintain a property like that when we can turn it back over to private hands, [and] let the private sector manage it.”
Partrick said the Bardolph building is one of the few properties the city owns that isn’t for city use.
“Once we identify those other properties,” he said, “we’ll probably sell those too.”
The proceeds from the sale will be split between parks and recreation and engineering maintenance needs such as repairing roofs and elevators in other city-owned buildings, Patrick said.
Current tenants Senior Resources of Guilford plan to move soon, according to Patrick, having outgrown their 12,844-square-foot space. They have been renewing their lease on a semi-monthly basis. The three-year leases of the other two current tenants, Alcohol and Drug Services and the Mental Health Association in Greensboro, end in late 2017.
Jackie Butler of Alcohol and Drug Services said they were aware that the building was up for sale. The organization currently operates a methadone clinic in the Bardolph building.
“I’m not sure it’s our place to talk about where tenants will go,” Partrick said. “[But] the buyer has to honor those leases.”
Kotis said at the meeting Tuesday that purchasing the property is part of a larger strategy to reinvest in Greensboro.
“I live here,” he said. “It’s a chance to make a bigger difference, to change the city for the better.”
He said a beer garden he plans to build near Federal Place on the south end of downtown is part of that strategy, as well.
Kotis owns Pig Pounder, Burger Warfare, Marshall Free House, Red Cinemas and countless commercial properties in Greensboro, and is interested in connecting downtown to neighboring university communities via greenways and transportation hubs such as the nearby Depot.
There are no immediate plans in place for the property, but Kotis said it will likely host a mix of offices, retail and restaurants.