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City receives offer for downtown building

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A local couple has made a formal offer to buy the historic downtown Fisk Building at the corner of Main and Fourth Streets. The city-owned building, which has an official address of 327 N. Main St., is seen here from the entrance fronting Fourth Street. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

A local couple has made a bid to purchase a historic downtown office building now owned by the city of Roswell.

Mason Holdings LLC, a partnership of Amanda and Joe Mason of Roswell, has submitted the only proposal to purchase the Fisk Building at 327 N. Main St., according to a city document.
“Did I sleep last night? No,” Amanda Mason said. “I am excited.”
Mason, a short sale specialist with a law firm, said that she and her husband, a Roswell police officer, still intend to open a Southern-style ice cream and treats shop at the 115-year-old building at the intersection of Main and Fourth streets and directly to the south of the Chaves County Courthouse.
“We are targeting January 2019 because the tenants are still in there and then the amount of renovations,” she said.
The Roswell City Council Finance Committee will consider the Masons’ offer at an 8 a.m. meeting today in City Hall.
The offer would have to pass committees, as well as the entire City Council, before a sale could be approved.
City officials declined to release the official bid submitted by Mason Holdings until negotiations are final, but agenda documents indicate that the couple has offered $30,000 to buy the aging building, which they estimate will cost at least $206,000 to repair to meet International Building Code requirements.
The value of the two-story structure exceeds “the cost of repairs needed to make the building useable again,” city documents state.
The documents indicate that Mason Holdings would pay $21,500 in cash at the time of closing, with the remaining $8,500 to be paid over a year to one of the tenants, Hispano Chamber of Commerce. That payment would include $2,500 for relocation assistance and up to $1,000 a month for six months in rent assistance at a new location. Mason Holdings also would agree not to sell the property for 10 years, unless in the case of death of one or both buyers.

The proposal also indicates that the current tenants, which include the Chaves County DWI Program as well as the chamber, can remain in the building for up to six months without paying rent or utilities as long as they sign a hold-harmless agreement.
Diane Taylor of the DWI Program said that many people have looked at the building over the years, without a sale going through.
“It’s been vacant for a lot of the time,” she said, “and a lot of people have been in to ask about it.” She indicated that her program offices likely will relocate to the Chaves County Courthouse.
According to a 2008 appraisal, the Fisk Building was built in 1902 by Citizens National Bank. For a time in the 1940s, the downstairs portion held a bar and lounge. In 1961, a major renovation occurred, and Fisk became an office building. In 1985, Chaves County purchased the building for a bit more than $187,500, with the county transferring ownership to the city at no cost in 2013.
The Masons first expressed interest in buying the Fisk Building in January 2017, when they emailed a city staff member to see if the city would consider selling.
After the Masons made a formal expression of interest, the city issued a Request for Proposals in early July, with bids due July 25.
City documents indicate that the 3,750-square-foot building was appraised for $165,000 in 2008. A 2015 appraisal placed the value at somewhere between $207,500 to $238,500, but noted that at least $50,000 should be subtracted from the appraised amount for needed repairs. The conclusion of that appraisal was that the fee simple market value was $160,000.
According to the timeline given in the Request for Proposals, a sale is not expected to close until the end of October should elected officials approve the Mason Holdings offer.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.