Former Sears property downtown draws developers

By By Lance Traweek / American Press

Two developers are interested in the former Sears property downtown, Mayor Randy Roach said Wednesday.

A resolution unanimously passed Wednesday by the City Council authorized city officials to advertise for bids to purchase

the 110,000-square-foot property.

Roach did not disclose who the developers are because such an announcement would be premature until each makes a presentation.

“Any developer is going to have a general interest until the actual preparations of the plans,” Roach said. “They want to

know before they start doing all this work that the city is willing to negotiate the process.”

The law requires the city to sell the property for its appraised value, a figure the city has yet to obtain.

The purchase price of the old Sears site was $800,000 in 2004.

“You have to go through this process by state law whenever you intend to sell property,” Roach said. “In this particular case,

we have received two letters of interest from two different developers, and they want to submit a bid on the property.”

He said the council is authorizing the solicitation of bids from not just those two parties, but from others as well.

“This is our first formal notice of our intent to go out and solicit offers and receive offers and take action in accordance

of state law,” Roach said.

Roach said the city is not looking for a particular type of development, but historically the downtown area has had “mixed

use” type developments.

Roach referred to the Muller’s Building and the Charleston Hotel as examples.

“Traditionally you have the type of

development which uses a three-, four-story plan for development, and in

that plan you

have commercial on the bottom and residential and office space on

the top,” Roach said. “Essentially, we’re not just looking

at what they want to use the property for, but the design and the

style of the architecture.”

Roach said he hopes the new building blends in with the pedestrian feel downtown.

The deadline for the bids is Oct. 8.