GREENSBORO — Guilford County officials renewed efforts Monday to sell a government office building in downtown Greensboro after an initial round of bidding elicited a $1.9 million upset offer.
The new bid from Williams Development Group of Winston-Salem overturned an earlier offer of $1.8 million for the Edgeworth Building, 232 N. Edgeworth St., from Samet Corp., a Greensboro builder and real estate developer.
The Guilford Board of Commissioners started the process earlier this month by accepting Samet’s initial offer, a decision which then opened a 10-day window for others to overturn the original bid by making a significantly higher offer.
Samet reportedly planned to renovate the 56-year-old structure that now hosts about 100 employees in the county’s probation, parole and juvenile justice programs.
Williams Development Group took Samet’s place in line by offering about $125,000 more during the required period for follow-up bidding.
The Winston-Salem development group did not respond Monday to inquiries from the News & Record about its plans for the building, which is located in a part of the center city that has attracted a number of ambitious projects in recent years.
Williams Development Group’s successful upset bid does not guarantee that it will become the building’s new owner, said Robin Keller, Clerk to the Guilford Board of Commissioners.
Instead, it simply opens another 10-day period during which Samet or any other qualified bidder can brush aside the current high bidder with a new offer of just more than $2 million to outdo the current leader by at least 5 percent.
Keller issued a new “invitation for upset bids” Monday afternoon, inviting all comers to join the competition by Jan. 10 with a bid at least that much above Williams Development Group’s current offer.
Keller said she understands that four prospective buyers have toured the property during the time that the board of commissioners has been exploring its possible sale.
She said it could take some time before the building actually is sold because each new, successful upset bid triggers another 10-day opening for other prospective buyers to enter the fray.
While time consuming, she said the process has the benefit of being fully transparent so county residents are assured public property is being sold fairly and for the best available offer.
A final offer will go to the commissioners only after it has been advertised “and the process continued until a 10-day period has passed without receipt of a qualifying upset bid,” Keller said.
Commissioners have been debating in recent months whether it made sense to renovate the building, which reportedly needs a lot of interior work, or sell it to a private owner who would put it back on the tax rolls.
According to county real-estate records, the building and its 0.71-acre tract are currently assessed at just less than $2.8 million — the amount on which a private property owner’s taxes would be calculated.
As a government-owned building, the property is exempt from such property taxes.
Guilford County bought the property in January 1996 for just more than $1.8 million from a private owner, Edgeworth Properties, a North Carolina general partnership, according to real estate records.
It is just up the street from First National Bank Field and not far from the site of the Project Slugger office tower being built by Front Street Capital, a local developer.
It’s also next to property that local developer Roy Carroll has designated as his next big downtown project, which will surround a new city parking deck planned for the area just south of the ballpark.
Carroll has said he hopes to build a hotel, apartments and offices between Bellemeade Street and West Friendly Avenue.