Old city building needs work before selling

More than a year after moving into the current city building, Greenwood has not sold its former city hall, and now officials want to look into how to make the building easier to sell.

The Greenwood Redevelopment Commission has approved spending as much as $6,500 on a study to look at issues a potential buyer or tenant could face and what the city needs to do to address any problems.

The 28,000-square-foot former city hall, commonly referred to as the Polk Building, is located at 2 N. Madison Ave and has been vacant since city offices moved into a new location at market plaza in 2014.

In the past two months, the city has put out a request for proposals from buyers for the building, but did not get any offers.

City officials have had conversations with potential buyers and tenants, but recently identified two specific issues that would need to be addressed before anyone could use the building, consultant Chuck Cagann said.

The south side of the building’s parking lot used to be a small gas station and was closed in 1972. The city needs to have an environmental study done to see if the gas tanks underground were closed properly to make sure the ground is not contaminated, which could pose environmental concerns, Cagann said.

The other issue is the interior structure of the building. The study would identify any issues someone would face if they modified or changed the current structure, such as expanding the size of a room, Cagann said.

The city wants a consultant to look at potential changes someone may want to make after or before moving into the building and what would be possible under the city’s building codes.

Once the study is done, tax dollars could be needed to prepare the building for future use, board member Brent Tilson said. Any work stemming from the study is necessary and would be needed by anyone who planned to use the old city hall building, Tilson said.

The building was opened as a community center in the 1920s and was used as Greenwood’s city hall since the 1980s. City officials have said they want offices, such as for physical therapy or other medical uses, to move into the building. Having those would draw visitors to downtown Greenwood for lunch or shopping after or before appointments or meetings.

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Corey Elliot is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at celliot@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2719.