Bank takes property leased by WSTP off auction block

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 19, 2013

SALISBURY — The property leased by WSTP radio is off the auction block, for now.
In a surprise development, the bank that started foreclosure proceedings on 1105 Statesville Boulevard — where WSTP broadcasts its local radio programming — did not put the land up for sale Wednesday as expected.
“I’m shocked,” said Mike Mangan, general manager and part owner of the AM station.
Mangan and Tim Coates, majority owner of WSTP and co-owner of the Statesville Boulevard property the bank is foreclosing on, said they were relieved, although they had made contingency plans for the radio station to continue operating in case the property changed hands.
The radio station itself is not involved in the foreclosure.
An attorney for the substitute trustee handling the proceedings said he was instructed a few hours before the auction to cancel the sale of the Statesville Boulevard property.
“I have not gotten any direction on whether it will be sold in the future,” said Ryan McNeill, a lawyer with Brinkley Walser in Greensboro.
McNeill conducted business on the courthouse steps with a small group of interested parties surrounding him.
Caron Myers, owner of Lazarus Productions and Caron Myers Media in Lexington and a news reporter for WSAT, another AM radio station in Salisbury, told the Post before the auction that she was considering a bid.
During the proceeding, Myers asked McNeill if the radio station’s tower and transmitter were included in the real estate. McNeill said no and called off the sale.
The tower and transmitter belong to Rowan Media, which owns WSTP, and are not part of the real estate involved in the foreclosure.
Suzanne Michael, a paralegal with NewBridge Bank who attended the sale, said she could not comment on why the bank canceled the auction. The bank’s corporate office in Greensboro also had no comment.
McNeill did auction off 101 E. Harrison St. including a garage and office building, which Coates also owns.
Michael bid $52,000 on behalf of NewBridge, which holds the mortgage. The bank is foreclosing on four properties owned by Coates, including properties on Harrison Street, Statesville Boulevard and family property in Davidson County and Cabarrus County, he said.
Coates said he suspected the bank would call off the sale because the Statesville Boulevard property is in a floodplain.
Wendy Brindle, the city engineer, confirmed the floodplain but said an owner could still renovate the building. For renovations exceeding 50 percent of the market value of the building, the owner would be required to elevate the building or make it flood-proof, Brindle said.
Renovations that cost less than 50 percent of the building’s value would not require raising or flood-proofing the building, she said.
The radio station, which launched in 1939, has been housed in three locations — the Yadkin Hotel, Meroney Theater and Statesville Boulevard. The late James Hurley Sr., whose family owned the Salisbury Post from 1912 to 1997, was an original WSTP owner. The call letters stand for “Salisbury Times and Post,” Mangan said.
“We will continue to be the voice of the community,” Coates said.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.