An offer to rent and then purchase a Lawrence County Commission-owned building doesn’t meet the asking price, but one commissioner wants to make a deal to eliminate the facility’s overhead.
The 5,000-square-foot former Transportation and Aging Department building at 14853 Court St. in Moulton has sat mostly vacant for six years. The North-Central Alabama Regional Council of Governments took over the county’s bus service in 2016.
The building is on the market for $199,900 and is garnering some interest, said County Administrator Heather Dyar.
She said the building is currently being used to facilitate the maintenance department and as a warehouse for the county. Real estate agent Morgan Jones began marketing the site on April 14.
At a commission work session last Wednesday, officials with One Source Office Products in Moulton offered to rent the venue for $1,500 a month for a year and then buy it for an additional $150,000. Brothers Scott and Ryan Harrison with One Source also told the commissioners they were willing to pay for improvements to the central air unit, carpet and roof.
Commission Chairman Bobby Burch said the value of the offer is $168,000 in rent and purchase payments, but he wasn’t sure any of the commissioners would make a motion to sell the building at that price.
However, District 3 Commissioner Kyle Pankey said One Source’s offer was worth a vote.
“The offer is not what we’re asking, but they are paying for the improvements,” he said. “That will get us closer (to the asking price) and it will get it off our head, and we will be saving more money by not paying insurance and utilities on it. We’ll see immediate savings.”
Pankey said the two maintenance department workers will be transferred from the old transportation building to work stations at the Solid Waste Department building at 680 Gordon Drive in Moulton.
Scott Harrison said One Source is looking to expand service in the area.
“We would move our business in there,” he said of plans for the building. “We presently have about 2,000 square feet of space. We might hire more staff, but we need the space to grow.”
One Source’s Moulton office is in Northside Plaza, west of Walmart along Alabama 157. Trent Montgomery of Tuscaloosa owns the franchise, Ryan Harrison said. He said One Source has operated in Moulton for six years.
When Pankey, 70, took office two years ago, he said he wanted to focus on shedding some of the unused buildings the commission owned to boost the sagging general fund.
In the spring, the commission sold the former International Paper union building on Lawrence County 150 for $32,000. The commission purchased the building for $25,000 in 2017 with intentions for it to house the county’s first animal shelter. Covenants on the property prevented putting a shelter there and the union building went unused until it was sold.
“That was one of my goals when I came into office,” Pankey said. “I’d like to see the transportation building sold, too.”
In a regular commission meeting on Friday, Burch said a second offer had been made on the facility and requested a special meeting be called to consider both offers before putting it to a vote. The special meeting was set for 8 a.m. on Wednesday.