Doko Depot sale held up by deed issue

BLYTHEWOOD – After a year of planning, a year of construction, a year of searching for and finding a buyer, the Town of Blythewood has spent almost another year waiting to close the sale of the Doko Depot. And the wait is not over.

Mayor J. Michael Ross announced at Monday night’s Town Council meeting that further delays are expected in the closing of the Town of Blythewood’s contract for the sale of the property.

The sale has been plagued with delays since shortly after the contract was signed in January. The latest delay is the result of discovering defects in title in some of the land the Depot sits on.

Ross said those defects related to the donation of the property to the Town years earlier.

“We are in the process of remedying those issues,” Ross told The Voice in August.

A portion of the land under contract was originally conveyed to the Blythewood Volunteer Fire Department by Charles W. Proctor in 1971, Ross said. In his deed, Proctor reserved a reversion of title if the property ceased to be used for fire department or other community uses.

The same parcel was conveyed to the Town after the volunteer service was discontinued but it was still subject to the reservation by Proctor. Proctor passed away in 1976 leaving no children. His wife died shortly thereafter.

Not knowing about the title issue at the time, Council voted last December to authorize Ross to sign a sales contract with Columbia realtor Wheeler & Wheeler to purchase the property. Last April, Don Russo told The Voice that his company, Freeway Music, was negotiating a contract to lease part of the building from Wheeler & Wheeler who was in the process of purchasing the building from the Town.

It was also announced that a popular Lexington restaurant is planning to lease the other part of the building.

Ross said Council learned that the Town’s sale of the former Proctor land (to Wheeler & Wheeler) for uses unrelated to fire department or other community use could cause a reversion in title.

To keep from jeopardizing the closing while the legalities are being worked out to prevent a reversion of title, Council passed a resolution Monday evening approving the extension of inspection periods for the contract of purchase and sale of the Doko Depot property and authorizing the mayor to execute contract documents pertaining to such extensions.

Ross said the resolution is provided as a procedural step towards a final closing on the Doko Depot property.

“I don’t expect this last delay to last more than 60 to 90 days and then, I hope, we can close the deal,” Ross told The Voice following Monday night’s meeting.

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