City to continue operations out of ‘old’ Fire Station No. 3 through November
The old City of Cartersville Fire Station No. 3 — that big, shiny blue building situated off Highway 113, in between Martin’s and Zaxby’s along West Avenue — looks like it has a new owner.
The roughly 0.9-acre tract of City property was sold to the highest bidder at a Dempsey Auction Co. function on Thursday afternoon. The property, currently zoned for office/commercial use, ultimately went for $475,000.
Two other parcels adjacent to the City property also hit the auction block Thursday afternoon. A roughly 0.7-acre parcel previously owned by Wolf, LLC and a roughly 0.1 acre tract previously owned by D. King, LLC, were sold off as a package deal for $265,000.
Dempsey Auction Co. sought to sell all three parcels as a $740,000 package, yet the offer had no takers.
Part game show, part high stakes poker and part real-life Monopoly, the auction drew well over two dozen potential purchasers to West Cartersville, who braved the nearly triple-digit heat for an opportunity to scoop up property parallel to a roadway averaging 22,000 vehicles a day.
“You have all of the utilities right here, you have a traffic flow that’s second to none,” said auctioneer Lou Dempsey. “It is growing up out here — I believe Rockmart, Cartersville, where it all meets right out here at Euharlee Road, it’s going to explode here in the next few years.”
The City of Cartersville issued a request for proposals (RFPs) for the property at 1220 West Ave. earlier this year. In June, the city council voted unanimously to accept a bid from Dempsey Auction Co. “with the condition that the city manager be allowed to negotiate the final terms with Dempsey Auction Co. and Wolf, LLC.”
According to City documents, H&H Realty, LLC, LakePoint Realty Group, Professional Realty Group, Inc. and Max Spann Real Estate and Auction. Co. also filed RFP responses for the property.
While the City property sold includes the 4,700-square-foot firehouse, Dempsey reminded would-be purchasers that the offer did not include whatever “personal property” may be contained therein.
“If it’s not attached to the real estate, it will be gone,” he said. “So we are reserving everything in the fire hall, and we are not selling anything that is personal to inside the fire hall.”
Or, to put it another way — no, the new owner of the property doesn’t get to keep the fire trucks.
Yet there is an interesting little wrinkle to the transaction.
As it turns out, the City of Cartersville Fire Department (CFD) is still occupying the building — and since the new Station No. 3 firehouse off Charley Harper Drive isn’t quite ready for use, that means the CFD plans to continue operating out of the facility for at least another two months.
“They thought they would be out of it within 30 days from today, they will not,” Dempsey said. “The City is reserving possession on the fire hall through Nov. 30. If they are not out by Nov. 30, it will be a $200 per day fee that the City will pay to the new buyer.”
Cartersville City Manager Tamara Brock said the municipality is targeting the week of Thanksgiving for the official move-in date at the new fire station. Fittingly enough, she said the revenue generated by the sale will go towards wrapping up construction on the new facility.
As for the terms of the purchase, Dempsey said the new owner must foot a 10% down payment, with a balance due within 30 days. Property taxes on the tract, he said, will be prorated as applicable, adding that local attorney Leslie Vaughn Simmons is prepared to close on the property as early as next week.
Brock identified the purchaser of the property as Lisa Walker. At this juncture, she said it remains unknown what development plans the new owner has for the former City-owned tract.
"There was some interest from several groups," Brock said. "Whether a restaurant, a gas station or a commercial/office space, I'm not really sure what she's going to do."