Old St. Regis property to be tidied up

Published 11:07 am Friday, February 12, 2016

On Monday night, Franklin City Council voted to approve the budget amendment to fund the nuisance abatement for the trash and debris violation associated with the old St. Regis property, 1101 Armory Drive. The main reason is to eliminate the health and safety nuisances.

When the original demolition activities were taking place, the City used its engineering services contract with Prism Engineering to prepare and conduct the project. The cost was $11,500, and because it was incurred as part of the abatement cost, a lien was placed on the property in the same amount.

To complete the removal for debris and slab, Crowder & White Contracting LLC, put a bid in with the City in the amount of $152,612.

“We had to negotiate that, as we thought that was too much for the City to invest in clean-up,” City Manager Randy Martin said.

In order to reduce the cost and eliminate the health and safety nuisances surrounding the site without removing the slab, Director of Community Development Donald Goodwin and Mat Crowder met to see what actions could be taken place.

The resolution they came up with is what council eventually voted to approve Monday night — the slab will remain and the debris will be moved throughout the property to fill in drops and make the property level, as it is currently uneven. They will also remove all the steel rods that are sticking out of the slab to level that off.

“The negotiated scope of work and bid is in the amount of $27,000. Should we move forward with the negotiated contract, the total amount incurred including the $11,500, would be $38,500,” Goodwin said. “The additional $27,000 would also be billed to the owner and if not paid, a lien in that amount would be placed on the property.”

During the meeting, Mayor Raystine Johnson-Ashburn directed a question to President and CEO of Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc. Amanda Jarratt, on whether or not this approach would affect a potential sale of the property.

“You are tasked often with marketing or entering people’s inquiries about vacant land in our City, would the material that’s going to be left on the property, make it harder in anyway to actually market it and maybe, hopefully, get a sale?” the mayor asked.

Jarratt responded in saying that she thinks any improvement is the step in the right direction, as its current state is disastrous and a major eyesore on the City and those looking to to buy property here.

“I think this a good phased approach to start to get this eyesore taken care of, as we move forward we can take additional steps if necessary,” Jarratt added.

However, Martin then spoke up and reminded everyone that the current clean-up process they are trying to get approved is not for developmental purposes.

“The action being taken to eliminate a public nuisance is for health and hazard reasons, not for economic development and appearance,” he said.

The council then voted to move forward with the process and the proposed plan.

The timeline for this project has not been set yet, but according to the Community Development Department, the contractor is ready to get started and once clean-up has begun, they believe that the project could be finished in about a week.