Lawrence gets $180,000 for transportation building

The former Transportaion and Aging departments building on Court Street in Moulton sold for $180,000 last Wednesday.

The Lawrence County Commission agreed Wednesday to sell the nearly vacant Transportation and Aging departments building for $180,000 cash, which was $13,000 less than the value of a separate rent-purchase offer.

Commissioners voted unanimously during a special called meeting to accept the bid for the 8,500-square-foot facility that heating and cooling company JMAK Services Inc. of Moulton submitted.

“We’ve about outgrown our business (on Alabama 157) and have been looking at this building for some time,” said JMAK owner Martin McLemore. “We’ll be doing some renovations in there and eventually move in.”

He said the centralized location of the county-owned building at 14853 Court St. in Moulton made the deal more attractive.

One Source Office Products made a rent-purchase bid with a total value of $193,000, which was $25,000 more than its earlier offer to commissioners. Once Source wanted to rent and refurbish the building for 12 months at a $1,500 monthly rate before purchasing it for $175,000 in August 2021.

County Attorney David Martin said One Source’s total bid of $193,000 came with a risk. He said things could change in a year’s time. “If they go into bankruptcy or the owner dies or anything else could breach the contract,” he said. “There are no huge risks, but there are some.”

District 3 Commissioner Kyle Pankey, who said it was wise to take the cash offer, made the motion to accept JMAK’s offer, and District 2 Commissioner Norman Pool seconded.

The deal passed 4-0 with District 5 Commissioner Joey Hargrove absent.

Real estate agent Morgan Jones began marketing the site April 14. The county’s asking price was $199,900. Jones said the transportation office portion of the building contained 1,544 square feet and two attached warehouse structures added 7,050 square feet collectively. Jones said the building attracted three other interested parties who did not make offers.

Pankey said the two maintenance department workers who presently work out of the transportation building will be transferred to work stations at the Solid Waste Department building at 680 Gordon Drive in Moulton.

Probate Judge Greg Dutton said he is looking for a place to store voting equipment now housed in the transportation building.

The planned closing for the sale is Aug. 1, said Commission Chairman Bobby Burch.

The building has been mainly empty since six years ago, when NARCOG took over the transportation chores in the county, commissioners said.

County Administrator Heather Dyar said the money from the sale will go into the general fund.

In the spring, the commission sold a former International Paper union building on Lawrence County 150 for $32,000. The commission purchased the building for $25,000 in 2017. Dyar said $25,000 of the sale was returned to the Solid Waste Department and the remaining money went to the general fund.

“These sales will make the budget on Oct. 1 look a lot better,” Pool said. “We have to cover some shortfalls. We’re trying to be good stewards with the taxpayers’ money. It’s nice to have the money coming in, but we need to remember we’re not in the real estate business.”

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