In a move that was highly controversial at the time, in November 2010, the St Augustine City Commission moved to spend $300,000 to acquire the M&M Market property located at 102 Bridge Street.
Assistant City Manager, Timothy A. Burchfield, has submitted a request under cover of the infamous “consent agenda” for additional funds amounting to $12,000, that he says are needed for repairs.
“When the City took possession, crews secured the building awaiting City Commission direction as to the handling of the property,” Burchfield wrote in a memorandum to City Manager John Regan. “We were recently approached by our Realtor concerning the condition of the building. Repairs are needed immediately to allow our Realtor to continue her efforts in securing a potential purchaser.”
Objections to the purchase from the community were many; from concerns about how long it would take to sell off the property, to what restrictions could, or should, be imposed on a potential buyer. Also at issue, based on the condition of the building, were costs of vandalism and repairs, liability and fire insurance; compounded by a soft real estate market and the fact that, so long as the property is owned by the City, it generates no ad valorem tax income. The lost tax revenue that could have been generated on the commercial lot and improvements in 2010 would have been $6,580.
As feared, after being boarded-up for eighteen months, the city entered into a contract with Saltwater Property Group broker, Irene Arriola, to market the property for sale. Arriola offered to waive her 3.5% listing fee — reserving the obligation of the city to pay a 3.5% sales commission to the selling agent upon closing of an accepted purchase contract. If Arriola herself brings the contract, she has agreed to waive the sales commission as well as the listing fee.
“From a professional standpoint roof leaks and moldy drywall have caused the building to be unpresentable to prospective buyers,” Arriola told Burchfield.
The general maintenance staff has estimated the approximate cost, not Arriola. Burchfield is asking the commission to designate these funds from the General Fund unrestricted fund balance.
If you are planning to attend — the regular St. Augustine City Commission meeting will begin at 5:00 p.m. Monday and will be held in the Alcazar Room; on the first floor of City Hall, located at 75 King Street in St. Augustine. It may be broadcast live on Comcast Government TV (Cable Channel 3).