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Spencer moves on to Phase 2 study for Park Plaza

SPENCER — The Spencer Board of Aldermen on Tuesday agreed to pursue a Phase 2 environmental study on Park Plaza.

The vacant shopping center is being considered as a possible new home for municipal offices and the Police Department.

Transforming about 20,000 square feet into office space would cost roughly $2 million — including the property purchase and renovation.

In November, the town entered a purchase agreement with the property owner, PI Holdings. On Tuesday, Town Manager Reid Walters reported that the Phase 1 environmental study came back clean — for the property itself.

However, there were a few concerns about surrounding properties. A parcel along Fifth Street once housed a dry cleaning business that may have resulted in ground contamination. The N.C. Transportation Museum across the road is zoned as an industrial facility. And a restaurant that planned to move into the plaza installed a grease trap that was never used.

Walters said he estimated it would cost between $4,000 and $7,000 to complete the Phase 2 study.

“But when you’re looking to spend a few million dollars on a project, it’s definitely something you want to do in your due diligence,” he said.

He asked if the board would consider allocating as much as $7,000 for the process — though he said he fully expects the cost would come in under that amount. But better safe than sorry, he said.

“I think if we allocated up to $7,000, that would give me plenty of overage,” he said.

The board approved the motion in a unanimous vote.

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