Old Post Office appraised at half the asking price, commission to tour alternate location

The Old Post Office building stands on the downtown Fayetteville square Thursday afternoon.

Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

An appraisal of the Old Post Office on the downtown square places the value at less than half of what the owner has asked the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission to pay.

The commission authorized lease and purchase negotiations for the building in December, the terms of which included rent of $5,000 per month with a $1 million option to purchase after a year. A counteroffer from owner Ron Bumpass asked for $7,500 per month with a $1.5 million option to purchase after a year.

Commissioners balked at the new monthly lease price, but are still considering an outright purchase of the building. However, with an extra half million dollars added to the price tag, they voted last month to order an appraisal and inspection of the building. A March 15 appraisal of the building, property, and improvements from Parrish Appraisals, Inc. came in at $730,000 (see full appraisal).

The group would like to use the building for event rental space, a possible museum, and studio space for displaced Fayetteville Underground artists (see proposed business plan).

Scarpino building at 329 N. West Ave.

Staff photo

Commissioners are expected to resume discussions next month, but not before they tour another possible location.

“We heard last winter that you were thinking about purchasing the Old Post Office building, and we recently heard there were problems associated with that,” Gina Berquist told the commission at its March 12 meeting.

Berquist and her husband Richard own the Scarpino building at 329 N. West Ave. near Dickson Street just north of the Bank of Fayetteville’s train bank.

“Our building has recently become available,” said Berquist. “We’ve been talking to some of the artists and they have actually toured our building, and they recommended that maybe we approach the committee about using our building as an alternative to the Old Post Office.”

Berquist told the commission they’d like $990,000 for the building.

“It’s ready to go, it’s completely functional and there are really no problems,” said Richard, who added that the only renovations needed would be to build out artist studios.

Commissioners are scheduled to tour the Scarpino building directly before their next regularly scheduled meeting on April 9.