One Court Square

Brent Finnegan -- January 24th, 2008

Last year, there were some setbacks in the city’s high tech plans other than the IPv6 flop. One Court Square, that empty building between TV3 and First Presbyterian Church downtown, was once touted as the new home for high tech businesses downtown. The city bought it for $1 million in 2004, but didn’t have enough money to renovate it. Then they decided to try to have school offices there. No dice.

$450,000 later, the city hasn’t had any better luck selling the property to a buyer. According to today’s DNR, “a bid of $801,500 submitted to buy the city-owned building […] does not cover the city’s more than $1.4 million investment”

13 Responses to “One Court Square”

  1. Dave Briggman says:

    Does it not seem odd that the Harrisonburg Housing and Redevelopment Authority seems to be involved with many of the screw ups in Harrisonburg’s financial problems?

  2. John says:

    I’d love to know how that value was established when the city bought it. The list of deficiencies on that property should have put it at less than half of that — lack of parking, lack of windows, filled with asbestos, in need of renovation, etc. It may very well be the only building downtown that has not increased in value since 2004!

    That being said, the city has done VERY well on other properties that they purchased and sold…. the corner on Port Republic and Neff comes to mind ( I think it is being sold to JMU)…… they stand to make a few million on that? That’ll make up for several poor decisions.

    Another interesting story here is what the School Board is going to do. They seem to have unrealistic expectations, not only of what space they ‘deserve’ to get, but what it’ll cost. They should be downtown. Period. Our local government has, in relocating them, the opportunity to be an active part in the revitilization of downtown, and to think that they may end up behind the mall, or somewhere else is ludicrous.

  3. JGFitzgerald says:

    “Does it not seem odd that the Harrisonburg Housing and Redevelopment Authority seems to be involved with many of the screw ups in Harrisonburg’s financial problems?”

    A fair enough observation, but only if you ask where these projects originate. Is it the HRHA asking the council for help, or is it the council using HRHA to get things done? The authority is supposedly independent of the city. It’s not. This would be a good time for the DNR or somebody to try and explain all that, going back at least to the founding of Court Square Theater.

  4. charles chenault says:

    Joe’s point is well taken. Since I have been on Council, we have asked HRHA to help with One Court Square (I am determined to make this work) and the Ciildren’s Museum. Thanks – Charlie

  5. Bubby says:

    Renovation bids from 2004? Someone needs to talk to builders in 2008. They are hungrier now. Try a local company.

  6. OK, I’m going to ask a stupid question. Does the city have to accept the $801,500 bid or will they put it back up for bid again, in hopes of getting a better price?

  7. charles chenault says:

    Good question. The City through HRHA does not have to accept the bid. It will be evaluated for what value it adds to downtown relative to the low bid price (the potential of the bidded project may justify the low bid price) or the City may pursue some other options for the property.
    Thanks – Charlie

  8. Christa says:

    Anyone know the appraised value as it is now and the tax assessed value?

  9. Erasmus says:

    I would like to see the School Board make One Court Square work, too. It would bring many more people downtown to patronize local businesses; the city already owns the property; and surely a couple of million dollars could make that building very nice, even if the School Board did not get everything they want.

  10. Scott Rogers says:

    Per the 2008 assessment:
    Land = $164,800
    Improvements = $1,256,600
    TOTAL = $1,421,400

    Source: http://www.harrisonburgva.gov/infoprop/

  11. Christa says:

    OK, two more questions. Is this building a) in the historic district and b) will the city make any low interest money available to rebuild?

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