Sanders: Hayneville Plaza sale is final

Published 2:50 pm Friday, December 18, 2015

The sale of the Hayneville Plaza is complete and any issues regarding the tearing down of the building are between the Town of Hayneville and the new owner Bell Ventures LLC.

That was the message delivered by Lowndes County Commission attorney Hank Sanders to Hayneville Economic Development Project Manager, and former Hayneville Mayor, Helenor Bell at the Commission’s meeting Monday.

Bell said she was appearing on behalf of the Town of Hayneville to clear up some misconceptions about Hayneville Plaza, which the county purchased for $3.5 million in 2011, but recently sold for $125,000 to Bell Ventures, LLC. There has been talk of an Ace Hardware being built on the location once Hayneville Plaza has been torn down, but that has not been confirmed.

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Bell said it had been stated that the Town of Hayneville did not have an ordinance in place governing buildings and structures.

“There is an ordinance that’s in place,” Bell said. “Actually it’s been there since 1985. And if you will take the time to visit the Town of Hayneville, you will see that the many businesses that have come to our town, they submitted plans. Before any structure can be torn down, before anything can be erected, the plans have to be submitted, and a permit has to be given by the Town of Hayneville.”

She called the Hayneville Plaza “a very important part of the structure of the town of Hayneville.”

Bell said she understood Hayneville Plaza has been sold, but expressed concerns about the building being torn down.

Bell said air conditioners and wall sockets have been removed, which she said according to the town’s ordinance shouldn’t happen. She asked about government property located in the Hayneville Plaza that was purchased with federal dollars, and for which she said someone has to be accountable.

County Commission Chairman Robert Harris said he was aware of the equipment, and County Commissioner Brenson Crenshaw said at the present time the equipment is being stored and will probably be offered for auction.

Bell said the county stated the Hayneville Plaza was sold for economic development purposes, but said the Town of Hayneville has no proof an ACE Hardware would be built at the site.

“There is a provision in the deed that simply says, that if it is not used for economic development purposes then the commission could reacquire it for the price that was paid, $125,000,” Sanders said. “That sale is complete, and that’s not something the commission can go back and undo legally. In fact, once they have voted for it, they couldn’t go back then without the possibility of a lawsuit.  So that’s a closed issue about what’s going to happen with the building because it has been sold.”

Lowndes County Commissioner Dickson Farrior, in response to questions raised by the sale of Hayneville Plaza, issued the following statement:

“For the safety of the public, the building had to be closed and the two businesses had to move out. When the commissioners obtained the reports from the Fire Marshal, they discovered that the building had serious problems noted in 2006 during construction that were not addressed.

To make certain that the condition of the building was as bad as stated, the commissioners had two additional studies performed. One was from a well-known engineering firm, Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, that said building should be torn down. Even if the commissioners could put to $800,000 in the building, it would not be worth more than $800,000.

The commissioners decided to get an appraisal so the building could be sold. Since there was no insurance, a fire or other hazard could cause a total loss. The appraisal determined that the property was worth $123,000, the value of the land less cost of removing the building.

Bell Ventures LLC wanted to purchase and tear down the building to build an ACE Hardware store. They offered $125,000 and the commission voted 4-1 to sell the building to them. Commissioner Harris voted no and Commissioners Crenshaw, Farrior, McAlpine and Barganier voted yes. The building was sold and a deed executed and delivered to the buyer. The sale is complete.”