The City of New Bern has received an appraisal of $2 million for the property that was formerly home to the Days Inn hotel, a site that has sat vacant since the building was demolished in 2017.
According to Public Information Officer Colleen Roberts, the appraisal was performed by Mashburn Appraisal Group of Morehead City and was received by the city on April 28.
In February, the New Bern Board of Aldermen directed the city to seek an appraisal for the city-owned property, which is located at 925 Broad Street in New Bern’s Five Points area. The site was also identified last month as a priority for an upcoming environmental assessment of New Bern sites considered suitable for commercial development.
Roberts said there have been no further discussions with the board about plans for the property, including conducting an environmental assessment.
At the board of aldermen’s May 23 meeting, Alderman Bobby Aster said he was ready to give City Manager Foster Hughes direction to put the property on the market.
“Let’s sell it, let’s take the proceeds and help the budget out for this year,” Aster said.
Mayor Jeffrey Odham noted that there are several ways the city could dispose of the property: through the upset bid process similar to what was used for the recent sale of the Talbot’s Lot on S. Front Street, where the property would simply go to the highest bidder with little input from the city; or through the potential expansion of New Bern’s downtown central business district to encompass the former Days Inn site. The move would allow the city to place conditions and restrictions on the use “to ensure that the will of the board is followed through on that property,” Odham said.
Assistant City Attorney Jaimee Bullock-Mosley explained that the move would allow the city to conduct a “beauty contest” of potential buyers for the property.
“So you can say we want this type of service, this type of use in this space,” she said. “You can market it to everybody in the world and people who are interested and can provide the vision that you’re looking for can respond. Then you can select those individuals, those entities that can provide the vision that you want to do versus the traditional upset bid process where the final highest bidder wins.”
According to Odham, City Attorney Scott Davis is looking into the expansion of the central business district to see what that process would involve. Davis is scheduled to update the board at their next meeting on June 13.
“If I knew we could get the appraised value for it I’d vote with you tonight to put a for sale sign up,” Odham told Aster. “But just because that was the appraised value, I don’t believe it would pull that.”
Alderman Hazel Royal said she would like to see a plan for the property that would benefit the Five Points community.
“I would love to hear the voice of the Five Points business corridor and the people that are involved before we move to that level of putting up a for sale sign,” she commented.
Alderman Barbara Best said she felt the city needed to play a part in the property’s sale so they can place restrictions on its use. She said she would like to see the land revitalized with possibly retail businesses or apartments.
“I think we need something there that’s going to be an economic driver for our city,” Best remarked.
By Todd Wetherington, co-editor. Send an email with questions or comments.