Blythewood Community Center Contract Expires

The Town’s contract with Sharpe Properties, LLC to purchase the 5-acre Blythewood Community Center property for $2.65 million has expired and the property is back on the market, according to Mayor J. Michael Ross.

Larry Sharpe, who owns Sharpe Properties, LLC, told The Voice there had been some uncertainties about the property’s water source, but that the final sticking point was the requirement of a new zoning ordinance passed by the Town in August that buildings constructed on six specific intersections in the Town must be built three stories in height. Sharpe owns properties at five of the six intersections. The Community Center property is one of those sites.

Sharpe said he learned about the three-story building requirement in The Voice.

Sharpe secured the Community Center property with earnest money in June 2011, and signed the contract with the Town Nov. 16.

A due diligence clause allowed Sharpe 120 days in which to “see if it will work,” Sharpe told The Voice. When the contract was about to expire in April 2012, it was extended for 60 days. Another extension was granted by Town Council on May 15. A third 60-day extension was granted in July. That contract expired on Oct. 17, and has not been renewed by Sharpe.

Realtor Jake Knight, of The Knight Company, appraised the property for the Town, assessing it at $2,125,700 in 2009 Knight was then chosen by Town Council in November 2010 to market the property.

Council voted to pay Knight a guaranteed monthly fee of $1,500 for up to 18 months. Knight told the Council that Town Administrator John Perry had suggested the flat rate sales fee.

Since Knight had the option to represent both the buyer and the seller, he would also receive a 4 percent commission in addition to the guaranteed monthly payments. The Town paid Knight, $27,000 plus expenses during the past 18 months since Sharpe’s contract had not been finalized.

The sale had been welcomed by Council at a time when construction of the park was halted because of a shortage of funds to go forward with planned projects. The $5 million bond has been exhausted and Council members hoped the funds from the sale of the Community Center could be used to build more projects in the park.

Asked about the Town’s current plans for marketing the Community Center, Mayor Ross said, “Well, now that the sign has come down, we’re going to have the property reappraised and put it back up for sale. We’re going to regroup.”

Under its contract with Sharpe, the Town financed the sale with a purchase money mortgage over five years. The property sale price included a 3.25 interest rate.

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