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Beaufort School Property is Once Again on Market

June 17, 2008

By Jannette Pippin, The Daily News, Jacksonville, N.C.

Jun. 17–BEAUFORT — The former Beaufort Elementary School property is on the market again.

The Carteret County Board of Commissioners recently announced an open listing of the county’s intent to sell the former Beaufort Elementary School property located at 801 Mulberry St.

The old school property was vacated after a new elementary school opened in August 2004, and there have been various efforts by the county to sell the property over the past several years.

The 15.9-acre site includes the main school building, a classroom wing, the cafeteria and gymnasium.

With the latest listing, the county is offering the property at its assessed value of $5.89 million, with a 3-percent commission paid to the closing agent.

“The Board of Commissioners felt the time was right to put the property back on the market,” said Jack Veit, assistant county manager of public facilities.

The county’s decision to return to an open listing of the property with the Carteret County Realtors Association follows an attempt to auction the property and two offers that were considered by the Board of Commissioners but never accepted.

The November 2007 auction brought in a high bid of $1.5 million but it was rejected by the Board of Commissioners.

Back in 2006, before the latest property revaluation raised the assessed value of the property, the county had an open listing for the property with a listing price of $4 million.

The Town of Beaufort put in an offer of $3 million at that time and a local businessman offered $3.01 million.

The Board of Commissioners took no action on the offers and later took the property off the market.

The county has cited the local landmark designation of the old school building and the original 27 acres around the original Beaufort Graded School as an obstacle in selling the property.

Last year, Veit said, the county made a request to the Town of Beaufort Board of Commissioners to remove the historic designation, a request that was tabled by the town board.

The county also made a request to Beaufort Historic Preservation Commission for a Certificate of Appropriateness to allow for demolition of structures on the property.

While state general statutes did not allow the commission to turn down the request, it could put a request on hold for 365 days to give the commission and the county time to try to find possible ways to save the school property from demolition.

Veit said that 365-day period will be up in several weeks and the county expects to receive the Certificate of Appropriateness it requested.

He said the county doesn’t have plans now to demolish the buildings, but having the certificate would give prospective buyers that option.

“We wanted to provide the tools to make the property more marketable,” he said.

In a third request, he said, the county has requested additional water and sewer capacity for the site from the Town of Beaufort.

The county has also noted that there is the potential for subdivision of the property after the sale.

Contact Carteret County reporter Jannette Pippin at jpippin@freedomenc.com or 252-808-2275. Visit www.jdnews.com to comment on this report.

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Copyright (c) 2008, The Daily News, Jacksonville, N.C.

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