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Council To Quiz Bidders for Old Chapel Hill Library

By Elizabeth Friend Posted June 13, 2014 at 5:28 pm

With four offers on the table for the former Chapel Hill Public Library at 528 East Franklin Street, Town Council members say they want to make sure the modernist landmark goes to not only the highest bidder, but the buyer who will best fit with the Franklin-Rosemary Historic District.

The town is partnering with Preservation NC to find a buyer who will maintain the character and appearance of the iconic building, but council members say they have questions about who wants to purchase it and why. They also want to see who’s willing to bid higher than the $752,000 asking price.

So far, four serious bidders have come forward.

The first is Chris and Ann Cox, who live across the street from the property and want to see it turned into a Chapel Hill Cultural Center, with rental space for arts groups and private functions.

The second is Jay Miller, who wants the see the building become a nonprofit hub for the area.

Third is Chabad of Chapel Hill, which envisions a community center aimed at students.

Fourth is UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, which would use the space as the headquarters of the Arts and Sciences Foundation.

The lowest bid is the $752,000 minimum from Jay Miller; the highest bid, from UNC, is $1,025,000.

For those offers from tax-exempt nonprofits, Council members say they want the bidders to consider sweetening the deal with payments-in-lieu to make up for lost property tax revenue.

The Council meets with the bidders at a special meeting Monday at 5:30 pm at the Southern Human Services Center on Homestead Road. A final decision on the sale will be made by June 23.

 

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