After more than two years of searching, negotiating and waiting, the city of Greenwood has found a buyer for its former city hall.
Greenwood-based real estate agency Randy Faulkner and Associates will buy the building at 2 N. Madison Ave. for $74,000 and renovate the inside to create office space.
The Greenwood Redevelopment Commission agreed to the $74,000 price tag under the condition that the real estate company would pay for much needed renovations and improvements. Randy Faulkner and Associates has to invest a minimum of $700,000 in renovations during the first 18 months, city attorney Krista Taggart said.
“This is right in line with our goals for the future of downtown,” redevelopment commission president Brent Tilson said. “The city will only get $74,000, but the investment of $700,000 will have a positive return and that building will look nice. Because of that investment, we know, at a minimum, that building will be taken to a quality level.”
The same company bought and rehabbed Polk Place, a former cannery at 435 E. Main St. After being vacant for many years, that building is now home to Cornerstone Autism Center. Faulkner plans to use materials and fixtures comparable to the quality of that building, such as bricks and new windows, and the building will need a new roof, Faulkner said.
The idea will be to keep the old city hall as original as possible, Faulkner said.
“He bought the Polk canning building when it was ran down and turned it into Class A office space, and I’m expecting to see the same happen to our old city hall,” Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers said. “He’s been receptive to what we want and we’re very excited about this.”
The former city hall building has been vacant since 2013, when city offices moved into a renovated office building at 300 S. Madison Ave. Before becoming city hall in the 1980s, the 94-year-old building was used as a community center when it was opened in the 1920s.
Faulkner will move his company’s offices into the building from their current location on Southport Road to be in downtown Greenwood, he said. He hopes to have renovations done and be moved into the building with other tenants by the end of the year, Faulkner said.
“My intentions are to stay there for a long time. I’m very excited. Mark Myers, his vision and what the city is working on,” Faulkner said. “I can’t imagine any other building I know of that will have the character on the inside that this building will have.”
City officials have wanted businesses to move into the old city hall because of the impact it could have on downtown. Doctor and dentist offices or other appointment-based businesses would be the types of tenants the city wants.
Faulkner hopes to attract businesses to newly revamped office space and also wants a coffee shop in the common area of the building that employees and residents could visit, Faulkner said.
The company was interested in buying the building two years ago. At the time, the city was discussing the sale of the building to multiple, interested buyers, but nothing worked out, Myers said.
The city was required to advertise the sale of the building for at least $675,000 — the average of two appraisals — before it could begin negotiations with an interested buyer. The city received no offers and later began negotiating with Faulkner, Taggart said.
Once Faulkner owns the building, the city will no longer have to maintain it and will again collect property taxes from it, Taggart said.
Currently, maintaining the building costs the city about $40,000 per year with insurance, minimal utilities and maintenance to the building, city controller Adam Stone said.
As a part of the agreement, Faulkner’s company may not request a tax break or a property tax exemption for nonprofit status for 10 years, Taggart said.
The redevelopment commission unanimously approved the sale of the building to Randy Faulkner and Associates this week. The real estate company plans to finalize the purchase by May 13.