Broker hired for Obici site

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Economic Development Authority approved Divaris Real Estate as its real estate broker for the old Obici Hospital site during its Wednesday meeting.

The move puts the land that has been vacant and city-owned for the better part of 10 years one step closer to being back on the tax roll.

The hospital moved to its current Godwin Boulevard site from the now-vacant land at 1900 N. Main St. The old building was razed in 2003, and the city bought the site in 2003.

Email newsletter signup

A few attempts to sell and develop the property have fallen through, including one by Robinson Development, which bought the property and then sold it back after failing to get a theater operator to anchor the site.

The EDA now owns the 25-acre parcel and is taking steps toward marketing it, including Wednesday’s 7-0 vote to hire Divaris. EDA member Robert Barclay abstained from the vote, citing a conflict of interest.

A request set to be heard in Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting would rezone the site, also making it more attractive to potential developers.

In another move, the authority unanimously approved a $1.8 million budget for the coming fiscal year. Its largest revenue stream comes from the Department of Social Services and the Health Department in lease payments for the Health and Human Services Building on Hall Avenue. Services for the building, including debt payments, janitorial service and electricity, are also its biggest expense.

Other expenses include accounting services for an annual audit and the façade grant program, which helps business owners pay for projects that improve the look of buildings in the city’s downtown core or along one of several entrance corridors to the city.