A deal is in the works to ensure that the Development Authority of Polk County can continue to keep a parcel on the market for potential sale, but financial help will be needed by the county government to ensure the paperwork and legal fees are paid.
DAPC president Rachel Rowell asked the county commission for an estimated $17,000 to cover the filing costs surrounding a loan extension on the Earley Property, which sits next to Cedartown’s Northside Industrial Park off the Highway 27 Bypass.
Suntrust holds the note on the property, and would give the DAPC another 24 months to pay off the rest of the interest and principal.
“I’ve personally only had two projects interested, and they were long shots in both cases,” she said.
It would be a one-time budget amendment to cover the cost and allow the DAPC to continue ownership in hopes of finding a potential investor looking to build a commercial or industrial project.
Rowell asked for the funds during a third Budget work session for the county held on Monday, June 6.
“We have a fund specifically set aside to allow to help industries moving to the area with closing costs,” Rowell said. “However at this time we have no mechanism in place to replenish those funds.”
This 200+ acres of land bought at $1.72 million have been sitting vacant for years following its purchase prior to the bursting of the real estate bubble on Wall Street, and now as the loan comes near being due it becomes necessary to work with the bank to keep the property.
Rowell explained since the purchase in 2006, the DAPC has only been making interest payments in hopes they would be able to sell it off quickly and make a profit. When the economy went into a recession, the hopes were to hold on and sell when values went up again.
However, the terms of the loan only allowed for 10 years before full payoff, so now the DAPC has asked that an extension be allowed by the bank to allow for more time to sell totaling 24 months.
That deal includes listing the property with Richard Long at Hardy Realty.
Commissioner Marshelle Thaxton asked why the DAPC couldn’t take in the cost out of the closing fund, but Rowell explained any potential future investors on the DAPC-owned SPEC building at the Northside Industrial Park, or for other industrial sites in the Rockmart area too, would likely need it in the future.
“There is currently about $350,000 in closing funds, with rumored expansions and those seeking to move in,” Rowell said. “That would drop us below $300,000 in closing funds, and if we were able to get a major project we wouldn’t be able to help them with closing funds.”
That fund, Rowell explained, was specifically set aside to attract new investors through covering the closing costs of any land or building purchases as an added incentive for those moving into the county.
The Commission said they would consider the request when figuring the final budget numbers, set to be approved later this month.
Not only were funds going to be needed, but an update to the intergovernmental agreement between the county and the DAPC was also required to move forward. The paperwork updated what was already on file when the first agreement was voted on in 2006.
Had the DAPC sought to refinance the property, it would have cost more than the $17,000 they requested because of the potential for loss of value on the overall property and increase of interest rates from the previous terms.