Ever since the , town officials have been trying to figure out what to do with the old town hall, in the shadow of the new .
An idea proposed last year was to rehabilitate the brick building inside and out and move the town offices housed at a nearby office complex to the old town hall, making for one big campus and also saving the town money.
At a work session on Tuesday, Deputy Supervisor Theresa Quigley said the town has received an offer of $1.2 million on four of the seven town-owned co-op units at the 300 Pantigo Place office complex. That building is located behind, though not accessible from, the 159 Pantigo Road property that contains the new and old town halls, the and the .
An appraisal of the seven units was $3.7 million and the town put all seven of them out for bid at the minimum price of $3 million. With the deadline in late December, the same person who now made the $1.2 million offer, also made a $3 million for all seven and then rescinded it, Quigley said. The town also received an offer of $700,000, she said. "They're going in the wrong direction," she said.
The $1.2 mill offer was made only for four of the seven units at 300 Pantigo Place, making it about $300,000 per unit. Quigley told the board there is potential for making more money when selling the other three units. Also, the offer includes an agreement to lease the town back the four spaces for free for one year and then after that at a price of $4,500 per unit, per month.
Currently, the , the , , , , , and offices, among others, are located there. Several other businesses own co-ops in the building, as well.
The only cost estimate received on the old town hall was $500,000, which an engineer said would make the building structurely sound, Supervisor Bill Wilkinson said.
While there are no design plans for fixing up the old town hall, funds from selling off the co-op units could be used toward the project. Wilkinson said he would like to see the brick building shingled to match the 17th and 18th century structures converted to town hall, the interior gutted, and given an open concept floor-plan.
"I think there is a tremendous value to having everyone on the same campus," he said.
Wilkinson also said that it also makes sense from a cost-savings stand-point. The town shells out a significant amount of money between up-keep of the co-ops and the old town hall, even though very little of the space is even in use. Last March, the fire marshal also put because of necessary repairs. For maintenance fees at 300 Pantigo Place, the town pays approximately $70,000 a year on the seven units.
The town bought the units at different times in the 1990s, according to budget offier Len Bernard, who was then a councilman. He said the town owes "very little" in debt service -- about $120,000.
While there was consensus among the board in favor of moving the town offices, the councilpeople who joined the board in January were concerned that there were no design plans and cost estimates in place already.
Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc, who works as a contractor, said he was concerned that gutting the old town hall could take longer than a year, ultimately costing the town more money in rentals. He also said that he understood the nexus between selling the units and fixing up the old town hall, there were also other ways to fund the latter.
Councilwoman Sylvia Overby also said she wanted to see a Comparative Market Analysis to better judge the offer.
Quigley agreed to make a more formal presentation of the proposal at another meeting.