0

Demolition of Heritage House property may be near

The Albany City Commission voted Tuesday to hire Oxford Construction Co. to demolish the dilapidated site of the former Heritage House Hotel in downtown Albany.

The Albany City Commission voted Tuesday to hire Oxford Construction Co. to demolish the dilapidated site of the former Heritage House Hotel in downtown Albany.

ALBANY, Ga. — The owners of the Heritage House hotel have abandoned their efforts to stop the City of Albany from demolishing their property, paving the way for the wrecking ball, city authorities say.

Following discussions with the City Attorney’s office Wednesday morning, Greenbriar Holdings and Investments LLC. — owners of the blighted property on Oglethorpe Boulevard — voluntarily dismissed its appeal of Judge Stephen Goss’ September 2011 ruling ordering them to tear it down or risk having the city do it for them.

Chimere Chisholm, the assistant city attorney who was assigned the case, called Greenbriar’s decision to drop the appeal “good news,” and said that it will allow the city to move in and clear out a piece of property that taxpayers have demanded come down.

“After several conversations with Attorney Greg Bailey (local attorney for Greenbriar) he has agreed to dismiss the October 21, 2011 appeal. In essence the City is now authorized to move forward with demolition per Judge Goss’ September 21, 2011 order. From this point forward we anticipate that the bidding process will begin as soon as possible as required by State law so that the Citizens of Albany can be rid of this eyesore and health hazard once and for all,” Chisholm said. “I will say that I am glad to see some closure to this matter as this has been one of my priority projects since being appointed initially in May 2011.”

Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard, who made demolition of blighted properties a key element of her campaign, said Wednesday that she was glad the legal hurdles that had delayed the process for the last three years had seemingly now been cleared.

“I think we’re all looking forward to having that property cleared and no longer having to worry about a building that was not only an eyesore, but a threat to the safety of the general public,” Hubbard said.

City Manager James Taylor, the man who will, in all likelihood now be the one responsible for tearing down the building, said Wednesday that the city was considering several different options in how to bring it down.

“This likely will accelerate the process. We’ve been working on some other issues relating to the Heritage House with some other potential partners in anticipation of this happening,” Taylor said. “This will accelerate our efforts to bring the Heritage House down. I think you will see some activity in the next few weeks.”

But don’t expect the wrecking ball to come rolling down the street in some macabre parade of destruction this week. City leaders will have to formulate a plan to remove any hazardous chemicals and environmental contaminants such as asbestos and other things before they bring the building down. And even then, the actual demolition will likely have to be something that is contracted out to a private business given the size and scope of the project.

“It’s important that we do this the right way,” Hubbard said. “This property is in a neighborhood. There are people’s houses and businesses right next to it. So while we want to bring it down as quickly as possible, we have to make sure, and I’m going to suggest to the commission, that we do it the right way,” Hubbard said.

Taylor echoed her comments.

“Certainly we’ll have to some abatement of any hazardous materials and the demolition of some other buildings on and around the property as well,” Taylor said.

considering the asbestos issue and the size of the building, City officials have estimated the cost of tearing the building down to be between $800,000 and $1.2 million.

If Greenbriar retains ownership of the property — the foreclosure process has been initiated by Capitol City Bank — the city would place a lien for the cost of the demolition on the property which would require the owners to pay up if they ever intend on selling the land or rebuilding on it.

The city is rumored to be in talks with bank officials about buying the property outright at a bargain-basement price before demolishing it, which would allow them later to deed to an authority such as the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority or the Payroll Development Authority who could then sell it to a private developer — passing the low price along as an incentive to build.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuRhXpc2PCM&hd=1

Comments

KaosinAlbany 2 years, 6 months ago

Thank God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

0

waltspecht 2 years, 6 months ago

Ask who will foot the bill for the demolition before you start being thankful. Asbestoes adds thousands to the price. I doubt the empty lot would be worth the cost of the demolition.

0

Engineer 2 years, 6 months ago

Well, if they can get some new businesses on the lot, it would be a more productive use of the lot than it is now.

0

Abytaxpayer 2 years, 6 months ago

Staff please give more details on how the City will proceed. I am not sure but if the city condemns and demos the building it can’t be resold but can be used as a green space. Anything, even a tree lined lot will be better than the eye sore we now have, just ashamed it is just another example of a scam gone bad that the taxpayers are forced to bailout.

0

Cartman 2 years, 6 months ago

The Heritage House looks like it should be in Mogadishu. You could film a sequel to Blackhawk Down there. Good riddance! But I'll bet taxpayers pay the tab for the demoliton.

0

mik178 2 years, 6 months ago

The sad part is the city is actually doing greenbriar holdings a favor. I am greatful to see it torn down but not under these terms. The taxpayers are going to flip a million dollar tab for demo and if the city files a lein one day we might end up with a peice of property worth only around one hundred thousand if that much. Green briar holdings should have been fined every month for the past several years for letting the property get so delapidated. After closing my business down I still have to keep up the vacant building and property I own or I get fined by code enforcement . This is a total waste of taxpayer money and it is beyond me as to why our city leaders are letting greenbriar holdings to get out of this as easy as they are. Wasnt it said that the building was a blight and a danger to the public safety? Why is greenbriar not being held more liable?!!!

1

Abytaxpayer 2 years, 6 months ago

Good idea and the City can fine all they want to. The problem is collecting those fines. Greenbriar Holdings and Investments LLC was setup to milk Government funds to rebuild the hotel. When the “Free Money” deals fell through Greenbriar Holdings and Investments LLC didn't have much money left if any (Lawyer fees?). Fines would have just meant a larger lien for the City against Greenbriar, nothing more than a worthless piece of paper. The sad truth is Honest business people like yourself, the City can reach out and touch (Collect fines) while the folks of Greenbriar are protected by Lawyers.

0

whattheheck 2 years, 6 months ago

The "rumor" of the city talking with bank officials about "buying the property outright" is a RED FLAG. I assume the reference is to Capitol City Bank who loaned money to the owners back around the time when an effort was made to get the $16 million Federal money to convert to housing.

If Capitol City or any other bank has enough interest in the property that they are in a position to "sell", they should be on the hook for part of the demolition costs. This is not passing the sniff test.

IS THE CITY BAILING OUT A BANK?

1

dingleberry 2 years, 6 months ago

Looks like whattheheck raises a good point. Behind the Heritage House on Highland/Van Buren is four pieces of property that appear on the tax assessor's records as owned by Greenbrier. However, they are really owned by Romeau Comeau and James Gurley, principals in Greenbriar. These guys borrowed money from Capitol City Bank in their names and in Dec 2011, Capitol City foreclosed on these properties to the tune of $357,000. Is this is the land rumored likely to be bought at a deal?

If this is true, the buyout would be a defacto bailout of Capitol City. Part of the land in the HH parcel owned by Greenbrier extends to Highland. In the middle of all of the Highland land is a piece of property owned by an individual not connected to the deal which also must be considered for the rest to be usable. The only land with any real value, if any of it has real value, is where the HH sits.

Why should the city buyout Capitol City"s interest since the Highland/Van Buren land has no real value even if tied to the HH property? Does the city plan to buy out the land owned by the unrelated individual? Greenbrier will still own the land where the HH sits while we continue to hold the bag. Where are we going with this?

Taking things a little further, every time we are involved in loaning money on anything Capitol City also loans money on, we are always subordinate to their interest. In the case of the University Gardens property we both loaned on, Capitol City has foreclosed on it and we are still hanging in the wind.

Is buying anything connected with this tragedy in the interest of the taxpayers? Someone needs to find out what is going on!

0

SickofitAll_bany 2 years, 6 months ago

This dump needs to go, but this all stinks. Anytime Greenbrier and Capitol City are involved someone somewhere is getting rich and we taxpayers are left paying the bill. Sounds like a scam to me. Who wants that piece of land in "gangtown"? Something is fishy as hell about this. Make Capitol City and Greenbrier tear that hulk down, not the taxpayers. The leaders here are inept and/or have some backroom deal going on with someone. Inept for sure, crooked...well I would bet money on it.

0

chinaberry25 2 years, 6 months ago

I thank the Lord everyday I no longer live in Doguherty County. Thank you Lord.

0

Parent 2 years, 6 months ago

You sure have a whole lot of opinions on the things that happen in Dougherty County for you not to live here.

0

dingleberry 2 years, 6 months ago

Let Capitol City foreclose on the property and the cleanup will belong to them as the new owners.

0

Amazed2 2 years, 6 months ago

I personally think there needs to be an investigation of the person or persons with Capitol City Bank that are involved in this deal and others like it. Sounds a little suspicious to me that certain people use Capitol City Bank here in Albany to get loans by using questionable properties for collateral. This is not the first deal of this sort involving questionable almost non marketable property for collateral, getting the loan proceeds and letting the loan default back to the bank There is a guy here in town that has a history in the construction business of not completing projects and not paying his bills and has been involved in various DBE scenerio's, getting booted off projects, company trucks reposesed from the jobsite superintendent during the day on the job, etc , etc. He is also a Preacher. I do not think he does the construction thing for now. There is no way this guy could have a credit worthy rating to borrow money at the bank. I think it was a 3 to 4 yrs ago I saw in the Legals of the Albany Herald where Capitol City Bank had to foreclose on I what I remember the amount to be $80,0000. The guy had put up some non marketable vacant lot in a bad section of the City as collateral and of course he did not pay the loan to Capitol City. Guess I wonder now if Capitol sold the lot to the City??????? Again, seems odd to me that a person with a checked past of bad business and history of claims and not paying people could even get a load much less $80,000 on a vacant lot. There is a certain pattern to these bad loans that should be looked into. By the way the local preacher stiffed the steel fabricator for his church expansion to the tune of $15,000 and maybe others. Again, starting to sound like some kind of system for the bank to loan money to certain individuals and then they default and then the City buys the property from the bank at the end??

0

DoctorDorite 2 years, 6 months ago

The old Ramada has wrought iron rails on it worth in excess of $70,000, will they let me bid on them ?? there's other materials salvagable too, is this going to a slush fund for a few officials here !

0

dingleberry 2 years, 6 months ago

Well, if you had to ask the question, you already know the answer. Winners and losers in this saga have already been picked. Sorry, you weren't on the winner list, Doc!

0

Amazed2 2 years, 6 months ago

??? what was the loan money from Capitol Bank used for???

0

Sign in to comment