Supervisors buy BRIC building, learn Lyon County is offering city Brown Street land

Carson City will buy a downtown office building for $1.25 million despite an appraisal of $960,000, the result of a 4-1 governing body vote Thursday.

The Board of Supervisors also learned Lyon County is offering to give the city five parcels of property on Brown Street in Carson City, targeted years ago for a 45-unit affordable-housing project. That prompted the supervisors to order due diligence by staffers on whether to accept the land. But it was the Business Innovation Resource Project, or BRIC, building purchase that prompted significant debate.

“I’m comfortable with the price,” said Supervisor Brad Bonkowski, who is in commercial real estate. He said “appraisals are not the law of God.” He also said the BRIC building, which the city was renting with an option to buy, is worth at least $1.1 million.

Finance Director Nick Providenti said he expects a 2.65 percent rate on a 15-year installment purchase contract now, and the board was told rates might be higher later.

Supervisor Jim Shirk, who is in residential real estate, cast the negative vote. He made a point about tenant improvements to the structure at 108 E. Proctor St. near City Hall as he indicated interest in the appraisal information and negotiating a better price. He mentioned the $80,000 the city put into tenant improvements while renting the building.

Shirk also suggested putting it into any future similar contracts that purchases would be at the appraised amount, but Bonkowski said that could be “a two-edged sword” and result in a higher-than-market price in better economic times.

Businessman opposed the move in public comment, noting the stairs aren’t in conformity with the latest codes and it’s an old building.

In the Brown Street land matter, meanwhile, Shirk said he had just received an email from a colleague in Lyon County stating that the County Commission there had voted to give the land to Carson City, and he moved to accept it.

No one seconded his motion, and the board preferred to ask staffers to do quick due diligence. Members wanted to know whether a clear title was available and that there would be no environmental or other concerns to block acceptance later. Shirk didn’t dissent in that decision.

Tom Stone of the Nevada Rural Housing Authority and Jack White of J.L. White Associates in Texas testified, recounting history of the Brown Street Townhomes affordable-housing project that died with the recession. They said they stand ready to help if the board still wants affordable housing and redevelopment there and in the area.

They assured the board they had no expectations that they had any inside track to use of the land if the city accepts it. City Manager Larry Werner agreed the board could do what it wanted.

“I think it’s pretty much wide-open,” he said.

In other meeting activity, the board:

• Heard from Leon Thomas, Bureau of Land Management area field manager, regarding his decision to clear out wild horses from rural Carson City.

He said it was a public-safety concern because the horses roamed outside the herd management area into River View Park and nearby neighborhoods. He said public education is needed so people don’t feed such horses.

• Accepted an interlocal agreement allowing state troopers to use space in the Carson City Sheriff’s Department building.

• Approved submittal of a grant application for $186,248 to help upgrade a multi-use path from Lompa Lane to the East College Parkway/Fairview Drive intersection.

The upgrades, if the grant is approved by the Nevada Division of State Parks, will require a match.

However, just $11,641 of that match would come from city Public Works funds, with $34,921 coming from federal Community Development Block grant money.


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