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Greenwood to demolish "historic" Russell Building

Saturday, August 17, 2013, 2:32 pm News Flash Archive

The City of Greenwood is preparing to demolish the Russell Building, even though it paid Lee Abraham's company $150,000 in December 2010 to buy it in order to stop its demolition as an "historical structure."

On the proposed agenda for the upcoming August 20, 2013 meeting of the Greenwood City Council, the following appears:

"Resolution authorizing the City of Greenwood to enter into a contract for the sale of property located At 505 Fulton Street to Reveilee Construction, Inc. for the purchase price of $140,000.00 and for the city to repurchase said property after the demolition of the building and the clearing of the lots for the purchase price of $90,000.00"

When the city bought the Russell Building from Lee Abraham in 2010, it had an agreement that Mr. Abraham would buy it back for the same amount if the money for renovation could not be found by the end of this year.

But now, the city will sell it back to Mr. Abraham's company at a loss of $10,000, and then buy it back once the building is demolished for $90,000.

That means that the city will effectively purchase a vacant lot where the building once stood at a total net cost of $100,000.

Mr. Abraham told the Greenwood Commonwealth back on December 30, 2010 that the salvage value of the building itself was well over $50,000.

According to the same article, the tax appraised value of the warehouse was $65,300.

City leaders had planned to renovate the warehouse into a conference center. But the emphasis at the time was on the need to preserve what they claimed is an "historic structure."

The Commonwealth news article at the time put it this way: "More importantly, McAdams said, is the prospect of saving an endangered historic building. If you start tearing down the old infrastructure, pretty soon there won’t be anything left for the city to bill itself as historic, she said."

Apparently, the city has now discovered that the building isn't all that historic, and that there is no money around to pay for its renovation and upkeep.

Back in 2010, Greenwood Utilities had wanted to purchase the property, demolish the building, and use it as a parking lot.

John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel

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