Nonprofit wins auction for county’s Mahaley Ave building

Published 12:10 am Friday, June 24, 2016

By Josh Bergeron

SALISBURY — In its last-ditch effort to sell buildings, Rowan County went two for three in a series of auctions on Thursday.

The county received bids on a former Social Services building at 165 Mahaley Avenue and a house at 418 S. Carolina Avenue in Spencer. Neither property received bids close to the assessed tax value, but both moved a step closer to being sold.

Nazareth Child and Family Connection — formerly Nazareth Children’s Home — won the Mahaley Avenue building’s auction with a bid of $180,000. Spencer resident Norman Hager won the house’s auction with a bid of $24,000.

Rowan County commissioners will need to approve the offers before the sales becomes final. At the earliest, commissioners could approve the bids during their July 5 meeting.

No one bid on the largest county-owned building involved in Thursday’s auction’s — a building at 1236 W. Innes Street once occupied by a division of Social Services and other county departments. After the auctions, however, County Manager Aaron Church said an unnamed entity had expressed interested in purchasing the property. No purchase offer had been made by Thursday afternoon.

“I’ve received about 15 of those sorts of calls over the past year, and the property hasn’t been sold yet,” Church said.

Combined, the tax value of all properties up for auction on Thursday equals $2.4 million. If commissioners approve a sale, they’ll receive less than $200,000 for the properties. In the case of the two former social services buildings, however, county officials have tried to sell the buildings for years without any luck. Last year, the county received a $300,000 offer from a local church offer to purchase the W. Innes Building, but it fell through after commissioners accepted the offer. The church asked to lease the building, but county officials declined. R. Giles Moss, the county’s auctioneer, told potential buyers on Thursday that Rowan County desired a sale rather than a lease.

At the Mahaley Avenue building, Nazareth Child and Family Connection says it plans to place an outpatient clinic for mental health and substance abuse issues. Specifically, the building would house the organization’s division called Carolina Counseling and Consultation.

On its website, Nazareth Child and Family Connection says Carolina Counseling offers school-based therapy, a suboxone clinic and outpatient therapy for all age groups.

Director of Clinical Services Greg Yousey said the building would contain services for both adults and children. Mostly, the building would contain counseling services, Yousey said. About 20 percent of what’s offered at the building would be medical services, he said.

Nazareth has been looking for a new building for a lengthy period of time, Yousey said. The Mahaley Avenue facility is larger than the organization needs, and Yousey said it’s possible that space could be rented to other entities.

Representatives of Nazareth who attended Thursday’s auction said the building will require renovations before employees begin moving in.

In Spencer, Hager said he plans to move family members into the S. Carolina Avenue house.

It’s unclear when commissioners could finalize an offer on the W. Innes building, if one is made. Regardless of price, Church said he’ll show commissioners any offer made on the W. Innes building.

Moss said the W. Innes building may also require significant renovations. In addition to any structural issues, the interior of the building contains mold on walls and the ceiling.

Rowan County commissioners have discussed whether it would be better to demolish the building and sell the property for its land value.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.