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Kannapolis selects company to manage downtown properties

By Susan Shinn

For the Salisbury Post

KANNAPOLIS — Kannapolis City Council on Monday evening voted 6-1 to select NAI Southern Real Estate to manage the downtown properties, but not before grilling company representatives and representatives from Development Finance Initiative, the group that recommended the firm.

Council’s questions centered around two positions that would be hired by the company but whose salaries would be reimbursed with city funds: a full-time property manager and a full-time property maintenance technician. Both salaries are listed at $67,000 per year.

Additionally, the firm would receive $60,000 a year — 4 percent of the gross rental fees — as a property management fee.

City Manager Mike Legg noted that all of these fees would be paid from funds collected from downtown rental properties.

“There’s enough revenue from leases to pay for all the services we’ve talked about,” Legg said. “The only thing that’s not covered is the downtown purchase price.”

The quibbling, however, came in the form of the property maintenance technician position. What would that position entail, council members wanted to know. Would the position be someone who is licensed to make repairs, or would that person simply be contacting vendors who would then come and make repairs?

NAI representatives were not clear on those duties — because the management company has not yet taken over the downtown area.

Councilman Tom Kincaid wanted to know who the leasing agent is, and Tanner Dudley of DFI said that his group was the main point of contact. Mayor Pro Tem Ryan Dayvault said that such information should be available in the downtown area for prospective clients.

Mayor Darrell Hinnant asked Michael Altieri of NAI if Kannapolis would benefit from a price break since Hinnant understood the company’s pricing was in line for the Charlotte area.

“Our fees are the same for the services we provide,” he said. “It doesn’t matter about the location.”

Michelle Audette-Bauman, DFI project manager, said that NAI’s proposal was lower in cost of the two firms that submitted bids.

Council members seemed to be in agreement that the maintenance technician position should be more than someone who simply got in touch with vendors when repairs were needed.

Altieri stressed that the two full-time positions were vital.

“Having boots on the ground is imperative for a project of this scope,” he said.

Hinnant expressed concern about after-hours fees, and extra charges for accounting as set forth in the contract. Altieri responded that his firm was being transparent, showing what charges could occur above and beyond the normal scope of services.

Legg pointed out that the city’s General Services Department was created to address all exterior maintenance needs in the downtown, including infrastructure, landscaping, street cleaning and trash pick-up.

“All of those things are covered under the city’s budget,” he said.

On the other hand, NAI is charged with maintaining the interiors of the downtown buildings.

“We are very flexible,” Dudley said. “We can add or take away what we need for downtown.”

Kincaid asked if there would be a job description created for the position in question — the maintenance role. Steve Banner, NAI’s senior vice president for property management, said that there would be.

Council also expressed the desire that the transition be seamless for the downtown merchants, although Councilman Doug Wilson pointed out he wanted the downtown area to improve, not stay the same. Councilwoman Dianne Berry cast the lone vote against executing the contract with NAI.

In his report, Legg noted that the city intended to close on the downtown property by the end of the month, with the bond closing occurring a few days before that.

Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.

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