The future of Millennium Park’s Lot 8 remains uncertain as the Johnson City Public Building Authority continues contract negotiations with regional firm Ball Realty Auction.
During the PBA’s monthly meeting Wednesday, the board unanimously voted to re-tool the contract with the Tazewell-based firm in order to see if both parties can come to an agreement.
The decision followed the firm’s opposition to several aspects of the contract, namely its issues with the 60 days following the due diligence period and a section that states the PBA retains the right to “intervene in situations where the use or appearance of the facility is not in keeping” with standards that the board has already set within Millennium Park, according to Vice Chairman Jon Smith.
In February, the board voted to begin negotiations with Ball Realty, which offered $657,691 for the property. That vote followed the board’s previous decision to end negotiations with Eastman Credit Union on the sale of Lot 8.
Early development plans from Ball Realty include four tenant spaces at the location, mostly geared toward food sales.
Smith said Dixon Greenwood, an affiliate broker with Ball Realty, has asked the board to grant automatic approval if they do not touch base with the firm within the 60-day period following the due diligence process, in addition to addressing his concern with the section of the contract dealing with appearance and use of the property.
“He (Greenwood) stated that having the PBA retain its right to approve or disapprove appearance and use would interfere with his ability to get financing,” Smith said.
In regard to the post-due diligence period issue, Washington County Economic Development Council CEO Robert Reynolds said the firm has been told the contract is un-bankable due to that portion of the contract.
“The contract says as long as we’re silent, everything goes away, so before he can make a financial commitment, there’s no commitment from our end to deliver,” he said.
The other issue is just as problematic, because the board can take as long as it needs to approve or disapprove the appearance and use of a facility, which could negatively impact the firm’s ability to bring tenants into the space, according to Reynolds.
“That really jeopardizes his ability to market to future tenants and things of that nature. I think that’s what the real holdups are,” he said.
Wednesday’s vote for the board to re-work the contract states it will be willing to work with Ball Realty to provide whatever information the firm may need in order to keep the plans from disapproval “within a reasonable amount of time.”
The section of the contract dealing with the property’s appearance and use will remain intact.
The board is expected to address the contract once again at the May meeting.