Court modifies Maxwell Chambers Trust conditions
SALISBURY — The board overseeing the Maxwell Chambers Trust received the court ruling it was looking for, and it will now be allowed to sell or mortgage parts of the property owned by the trust in the 200 block of West Innes Street.
“We just need to sit down and discuss opportunities, possibilities, what-ifs and where we go from here,” said Rip Collins, chairman of the board of trustees of the Maxwell Chambers Trust.
On Monday, Superior Court Judge Mark E. Klass granted the trustees’ motion, filed this spring, which asked for modification of the trust created in 1855 with the death of Maxwell Chambers.
His trust prohibited the board from selling the real estate owned by the trust. The elders of First Presbyterian Church serve as trustees of the Maxwell Chambers Trust and are required by the trust to manage the property to produce income for support of the church.
The trust owns all of the property in the Salisbury city square block bounded by West Innes, South Jackson, South Church and West Fisher streets.
Contained within that block are the former First Bank building, the former Wrenn House restaurant, a large parking lot, the Bell Tower and the old Presbyterian session house.
The court ruling now allows the board to either sell most of the trust’s property in that block, or borrow against the value of the same property to make renovations necessary to attract new tenants.
“It brings the trust up to date with current lending laws and just makes it a little more of a workable situation with the property,” Collins said.
Collins says the session house is not included, though the Bell Tower and everything else are, in property that could be sold with the modification approved by the court.
Maxwell Chambers and members of his family are buried under the session house, and First Presbyterian Church, as long as it exists, is under obligation to maintain the property.
“That literally is sacred ground, so to speak,” Collins said.
Prior to the court’s ruling, the N.C. Attorney General and Davidson College had consented to the modification if it were approved.
The Attorney General has the right to be heard in court actions involving charitable trusts.
As Chambers spelled it out, Davidson College has the right to receive Maxwell Chambers Trust property if First Presbyterian Church is ever dissolved.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.