Zebulon’s former police station has new owner

amoody@newsobserver.comMay 9, 2014 

— Six months of a bidding war on the town’s former police headquarters property has come to an end, and Zebulon’s two other former office spaces in downtown are seeing action.

Commissioners on Monday passed a resolution to close the deal on its former police station at 111 E. Vance St. The winning bid of $116,500 was entered by former town attorney Andy Gay on behalf of a family partnership. It was $81,500 more than the town’s most recent asking price.

Gay made the first offer of $25,000, which was rejected last September because it was below the town’s $35,000 price tag. Three upset bids were filed from Oct. 3 to Nov. 1 – two by Brandon and Amanda LaRoque of Raleigh and one by John Muter, who wants to relocate his construction company’s office from the east side of Zebulon.

From that point onward, the process became a tug of war between Gay and Muter. Muter entered a total of seven upset bids. Gay won with his eighth offer.

The former police station was unsuccessfully listed at $242,000 from 2010, after town staff moved to the Zebulon Municipal Complex, until August of last year. That’s when town leaders took the advice of a listing agent to slash the asking price all the way down to $35,000.

Pursuit continues

Missing out on the police station didn’t keep Muter from pursuing a location in downtown. The town board accepted his $125,000 bid on Zebulon’s former town hall at 100 N. Arendell Avenue, which starts an upset bid process on that property. The cycle that bid initiated closes May 21 at 4 p.m.

Potential buyers have 10 business days from the time commissioners accept a bid to enter a bid that’s 5 percent more than the current offer on the property. If the town approves a higher bid, the cycle restarts.

Muter’s offer marked the second on the old town hall, following a $90,000 offer by a group of local investors who wanted to bring an arts center to downtown. That offer was turned down by the board in April. The town is asking $145,000.

Muter said the corner property would work better for his company, so he has no hard feelings about Gay winning the neighboring police station.

“It’s good that it’s going to somebody local that will spend the money to fix (the old police station) up right,” Muter said. “As we looked at it, the old town hall would end up being easier and quicker to move into.

“What hurt us was the duration. We need to be in an office. It’s a process, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.”

Action all around

Muter was the first to make an offer on the town’s other downtown surplus property, the former council chambers building at 109 E. Horton St. Five bids have been made since his $20,000 offer in September was rejected. The town’s asking price was $85,000.

The LaRoques, Craig and Christina Traynor and Insight Residential Realty have gone back and forth, with the highest bid of $88,000 placed by the Traynors May 2. The window for an upset bid on the old council chambers also closes May 21 at 4 p.m.

The town planned to use money from the sale of the three downtown properties to replenish about $750,000 in reserve funds it used to pay for renovations to the new town hall and police station.

Town leaders came down on asking prices for all three properties before they received any real interest starting last fall.

If the council chambers and town hall properties sold at the current bid price, the town would come out $64,500 above its total current asking price of $265,000 for the three locations.

Moody: 919-829-4806; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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