Dunbar Center sale delayed

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 25, 2011

By Karissa Minn
EAST SPENCER ó The sale of the Paul Laurence Dunbar Center has been postponed to noon Nov. 16.
The property went into foreclosure on Oct. 3 and was set to go up for auction at the county courthouse at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Minutes before, the sale was postponed at the request of the lender, but no reason was given for the delay.
Shady Grove Baptist Church has owned the Dunbar Center, a former school located at 820 North Long St. in East Spencer, for nearly three years.
When the church bought the property in December 2008, it took out a $300,000 loan from SunTrust Bank. At the time the property went into foreclosure, SunTrust said the church was in default and had not made a payment on the loan since July 23, 2010.
At that time, the church owed a principal amount of $290,949, plus $37,4783 in interest on the loan, according to court documents.
SunTrust has named Greensboro attorney Kevin Gorham as substitute trustee. Gorham said he could not give a reason why the bank chose to delay the sale.
Andrew Abramson, a Salisbury attorney representing the church, said Tuesday he doesnít have any new information about the foreclosure proceedings or why the sale was postponed.
Foreclosure sales are sometimes delayed if the debtor is making payments.
But Maxine Broadway, chair of the board of directors at Shady Grove Baptist, said church leadership has decided not to try to pay off the loan.
ěWe arenít doing anything with it,î Broadway said. ěThat must be the bank.î
A few members of the church were present for the scheduled sale Tuesday morning, but those who were asked declined to comment.
Bill Godair, pastor of Cornerstone Church, also came to the county courthouse for the sale.
In 2005, Cornerstone submitted a bid on the Dunbar Center after Rowan-Salisbury Schools decided to sell it.
But Anderson and Bertha Pledger bought the property for $200,000 before selling it to Shady Grove Baptist for twice that amount.
According to county records, the church paid $400,000 for the Dunbar Center, which includes the 92,000-square-foot former school and about 7.5 acres. It planned to lease the former classrooms for either office or retail space.
Godair said Tuesday that Cornerstone has an interest in the property but he doesnít know if it will bid in the current sale.
Bidding was set to start at $333,000, which Godair said is still a high price for the property.
Clerk of Court Jeff Barger said if no bids were entered at that level, in 10 days the property would go back to the bank, which could then sell it directly.
Godair said the church had plans for the center to host basketball, football and soccer programs, a youth gang prevention program and some local businesses.
ěWe never lost our vision for it,î he said. ěWe just want to try to help the community around there.î
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.
Twitter: twitter.com/postcopolitics
Facebook: facebook.com/Karissa.SalisburyPost