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HMDA agrees to sell annex building

Oct. 02, 2012 @ 11:45 PM

HUNTINGTON -- A local developer has agreed to purchase a dilapidated downtown building the Huntington Municipal Development Authority has been trying to sell for more than a decade.

Authority members voted unanimously Tuesday to sell the municipal annex building, located at 822 5th Ave., to Shane Radcliff for $100,000 so he can tear down the building and use the property for parking near the alley and retail space along 5th Avenue. The vote authorized HMDA President Liza Caldwell to sign the contract with Radcliff, and the deal should be finalized within 30 days, HMDA Executive Director Tom Bell said.

"It's a considerable relief to dispose of this property and see it put back to productive use," Bell said.

Radcliff, who did not attend Tuesday's meeting, said his plans for the property are part of a larger project he is working on in the downtown. He also is renovating a building on 4th Avenue, but declined to release further details.

The city purchased the annex building for $500,000 from Polan Realty Corp. in November 1978 to provide extra office space. Several fires, along with safety concerns of employees and patrons, forced the offices out of the building for good in 1999.

The city spent $131,677 in Community Development Block Grant funds in 2007 to remove asbestos and contaminated debris from the building to make it more attractive to developers. The city also painted the front and hosted an open house there for developers in 2009. Several toured the building, but no one made an offer.

In recent months, the top of the building had buckled, forcing the city to rope off a handful of parking spaces in the lot between the building and City Hall.

Bell said the tentative deal between Radcliff and the HMDA would have never materialized if it weren't for Scott Poston, the city's chief building inspector. Poston said he inspected one of Radcliff's properties recently and the two talked about how the annex building would fit into Radcliff's future development plans. Bell presented Poston with a letter of commendation at the meeting.

In other business Tuesday, Bell said a deal to sell 3.22 acres of land on the lower level of KineticPark for $1.062 million to Goldy Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram was finalized two weeks ago. Joel Goldy, vice president of Moses, Inc., plans on having a groundbreaking ceremony at the property in the near future, Bell said.

The dealership originally agreed to purchase another parcel of land on the lower level of the business park along W.Va. 10, but it had to swap because of a dispute between HMDA and Mountaineer Gas Co. over a natural gas easement. Bell said both sides have reached an agreement that resolves the dispute.

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