RALEIGH: City counters state's offer for Dorothea Dix property - KCTV5

City offers to purchase Dix property, Morehead School field

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Negotiations between officials from the state and the city of Raleigh began again in March regarding the future of the campus. Negotiations between officials from the state and the city of Raleigh began again in March regarding the future of the campus.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

After the state rejected the City of Raleigh's bid to purchase the Dorothea Dix property, the city has countered with an offer that includes a portion of land at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind.

In April, the state of North Carolina rejected a bid by the City of Raleigh to purchase the Dix property for $38 million. The bid also asked the state to cover any environmental clean-up costs.

The state declined the bid saying the city's appraisal "substantially undervalues the property." The state also offered to sell the city 243.95 acres at $213,953 per acre for a total price of $52.2 million.

Countering the state's offer, the city delivered a proposal to the governor's office on April 28 offering to purchase the land as well as a 7.3-acre portion of the Morehead School property for $51,262,240.

  • Click Here to read the city's counter offer to purchase the Dorothea Dix property

The land at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind is an unused tract of land that Gov. Pat McCrory suggested could connect the Dix property and Pullen Park.

"The city agrees that this property would allow for improved connectivity in the future between the proposed Dorothea Dix Park and Pullen Park," city attorney Tom McCormick wrote in the offer letter to the governor that was released on Thursday.

In regard to the clean-up, which the state rejected responsibility to cover the cost of, McCormick proposed depositing $10 million of the purchase price into an interest-bearing escrow account for 15 years.

"The city shall be able to use the escrow funds as needed to remediate environmental liabilities confirmed by the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources during the escrow period, as well as any asbestos abatement costs incurred in the city's rehabilitation or demolition of existing structures during the escrow period," McCormick wrote.

Any money not used for clean-up would go to the state at the end of the escrow period, McCormick said.

As an alternative to purchasing the property, the city offered to amend the lease agreement signed by the Council of State in December 2012. If agreed upon, the city would pay $1.6 million per year for 75 years for the property.

Under the lease agreement signed by former Gov. Beverly Perdue, the city would have paid $500,000 per year for 75 years for the property.

But in 2013, Republican senators demanded the deal be scrapped. The Senate voted to dissolve the city's lease immediately, saying it didn't represent the property's fair-market value and failed to protect health services as the property was originally intended.

City officials threatened to sue if the lease was voided.

By the end of last year's legislative session, McCrory and House leaders worked out a "standstill" agreement under which the city would hold off on enforcing provisions of the Perdue lease while a new deal was worked out.

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