Traverse City Record-Eagle


May 8, 2014

Leland property debate back on county agenda

TRAVERSE CITY — The Leland courthouse property has proven problematic for Leelanau officials for years, but in recent weeks county commissioners mostly struggled to decide how to get it back on the tax rolls.

Commissioners hope to sell the county-owned, 119,563-square-foot property in Leland. About a month ago they heard from representatives from three real estate firms who hope to market the property, but they have yet to make a decision on which firm to pick.

Commissioners were unable to make a decision at their last two meetings on the subject, the most recent of which was on April 15.

“This is such an important decision to make,” said Commissioner Melinda Lautner. “If we want to make sure this is properly marketed, we should take time digesting the information we received at the other meeting and then have a special meeting to dedicate just to this issue and not feel like we need to be rushed.”

Commissioner Debra Rushton sought a special session on Friday to once again discuss the property. She wants commissioners to discuss all their options, including putting the property up for auction.

“I’m looking at a high-end professional auctioneer that can market the property not only locally but globally, nationally,” Rushton said. “The advantage of an auction is there’s a set date. If there are serious interested buyers they would come to the table, or otherwise lose their place or opportunity to purchase, the market will set the price, and the other thing I like is those people come to the auctions pre-qualified.”

Commission Chairman Tom Van Pelt said he wants to get the property on the market as soon as possible, and would have selected a real estate agent at the April meeting.

“I was ready to make a decision at the time, but there was a majority who wasn’t so we postponed it,” Van Pelt said.

Commissioners were disappointed to learn the property has an appraised value of around $1.5 million. The county originally sold the site for $2.4 million in 2007. A failed development eventually put the property back in county hands.

Three West, Re/Max Bayshore Properties, and Coldwell Banker Schmidt all submitted bids to market the property.

The special session will be held Friday at 9 a.m. at the Leelanau County Government Center in Suttons Bay.



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