A&P Commission to offer $730,000 for Old Post Office, decides against Scarpino building

Scarpino owner Richard Berquist (center) leads a tour of his Scarpino building at 329 N. West Ave. for Mayor Lioneld Jordan (left) and other members of the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission.

Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

The Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission will offer to pay no more for the Old Post Office building than the estimated value from a recent appraisal.

The commission voted on Monday to offer $730,000 to owner Ron Bumpass after reviewing a March 15 appraisal of the property (see full appraisal).

Commissioners in January agreed to offer $5,000 per month to lease the building with an option to purchase for $1 million after one year. However, when Bumpass counteroffered at $7,500 per month with a $1.5 million purchase price, the commission regrouped, decided against any lease, and ordered an appraisal of the property.

Here’s a rundown of where the purchase stands at this point:

Scarpino building out of the running

Berquist continues the Scarpino tour.

Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

After word of Bumpass’ counteroffer surfaced in February, Scarpino owners Richard and Gina Berquist offered their building, located at 329 N. West Ave., to the commission at a price of $990,000.

After a brief tour of the property Monday afternoon, the commission ultimately decided to stick to the original plan and continue efforts to purchase the Old Post Office.

“I like the way the building is made up, but I’ve got issues with the parking element,” said commissioner and mayor Lioneld Jordan, referring to the Scarpino building’s three parking spaces. “If you’re going to have events there, you’re going to need more than three spaces.”

Commissioner Bob Davis said his biggest problem was with its location. “The reason we’re trying to purchase the Old Post Office is because of the synergy of downtown and to keep First Thursday, the (Fayetteville Underground) artists, and the revitalization of the downtown area,” he said. “I think you lose that by going down to West (Avenue).”

Commission chair Maudie Schmitt agreed with Jordan’s parking issue and offered a third problem with the building. “I think it’s a beautiful place and a beautiful space for receptions, weddings and meetings,” she said. “I don’t see it as a place for the artists.”

Back to the OPO

Commissioners tour the Old Post Office building in January.

Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

In light of last month’s private appraisal and a reported 2010 Washington County tax appraisal which valued the property at $541,550, discussion immediately shifted towards offering $730,000.

“We’re probably looking at $250,000 to $400,000 in renovation costs to bring it up to what the citizens expect,” said Davis of the 100-year-old structure. “It may be less than that, but it may be more so you’ve got to be careful what you spend.”

With an appraisal in hand, the group decided an inspection of the property was also in order, but not before determining whether the owner is still interested in selling.

“He may not want to sell at the price we’ve come back with,” said Davis, who added that he’d hate to spend additional taxpayer dollars on an inspection only to see their offer rejected by Bumpass.

Acting on a previous suggestion from City Attorney Kit Williams, the commission agreed to hire a real estate attorney to continue negotiations.

Schmitt said a recently advertised request for legal services yielded only one response. Davis Law Firm of Fayetteville submitted a nine-page offer to the commission.

The group decided to instruct the firm to include a condition in its offer that the Old Post Office building be up to the commission’s inspection standards before any purchase is finalized.

Schmitt said if Davis Law Firm is expeditious in drafting the terms, a special A&P session could be called to approve the offer before the group meets for its next scheduled meeting on May 14.