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Developers Submit Bids For Two City Properties

By Emma Dill, posted Oct 24, 2023
Two properties owned by the city of Wilmington are moving through the upset bid process. (Photo by Cece Nunn)
As the city of Wilmington moves its offices into the former Thermo Fisher Scientific building downtown, city staff are working to sell off former office buildings.

Two properties – one downtown and the other near Greenfield Lake – are set to move through the upset bid process this week while one of the most expensive office buildings on the city's surplus list was put on the market last month.

Proceeds from the office building sales will help offset the city’s $68 million purchase of the Thermo Fisher building at 929 N. Front St., a deal that closed this summer.

The Wilmington City Council on Oct. 17 unanimously approved two resolutions kickstarting the upset bid process for city-owned buildings and property at 302 Willard St. and 222 and 226 S. Front St. 

Today, the 83-year-old building at 302 Willard St. houses offices for the city’s parks and recreation department. It was originally used as a fire station, according to Aubrey Parsley, the city’s director of economic development.

Mark Maynard Sr., president and CEO of Tribute Companies, submitted a bid of $715,000 for the 42,000-square-foot building and surrounding 0.23-acre property. There is no due diligence period for the purchase and it will use a quitclaim deed, Parsley told the council.

Because the city is using an upset bid to sell the property, Maynard’s bid will be publicly advertised this week, giving others a chance to bid.

Other bids must be submitted within 10 days of public notice and by statute must be more than 10% of the first bid’s first $1,000 and 5% of the remainder. That means the minimum upset bid is $749,800. All bidders must also put down a deposit of 5% of their total bid.

The second property subject to an upset bid is at 222 and 226 S. Front St. The three-story historic home was built around 1900 and acquired by city leaders earlier this year. The property, which formerly housed the Taste of Country restaurant, was conveyed to the city as part of a legal settlement with its former owner Peter Koke. The site was declared surplus property in September.

Dave Nathans, president of Urban Building Corp LLC, submitted the $600,000 bid for the property. The property will follow the same upset bid process and schedule as the building at 302 Willard St. The minimum upset bid is $630,050, according to Parsley.

Both sales will be “as-is, where-is” and will use a quitclaim deed. Both Maynard and Nathans did not respond Tuesday to a request for comment on their bids.

The city is looking to sell another downtown office building at 115 N. Third St. and 210 Chestnut St. The building, which formerly housed United Bank, was built in 1990 and has 46,000 square feet of rentable space. The Wilmington City Council authorized a sealed bid sale of the building (pictured at right) last month.

The city made decisions about whether to use an upset bid, sealed bid or other disposition method on a “case-by-case basis,” according to Lauren Edwards, a city communications manager.

“Each property has its own unique considerations,” she wrote in an email to the Business Journal. “The goal for all of these properties, especially those that are deemed surplus as a result of the acquisition of 929 N. Front St., is to maximize the value to the city.”

Edwards wasn’t able to provide a timeline for disposing of other surplus properties, but stated city staff are “working diligently to complete transactions for the remaining properties with urgency."
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