The Greencastle Redevelopment Commission Wednesday afternoon unanimously approved acquisition of the law office property at 106 S. Indiana St. from Darrell and Jill Felling at a purchase price of $165,000.
At the same time, the City of Greencastle has agreed to sell the old City Hall site at the southeast corner of Walnut and Indiana streets, currently a short-term parking lot, to the Fellings. The city will relinquish that real estate for the sum of $29,500.
The city, of course, can afford to give up that location with the new parking garage planned for right across the street by spring 2014.
Acquisition of that corner property by the Fellings will give them the flexibility of building a new law office virtually across the street from their old facility or moving somewhere else in the interim and ultimately staying there.
The transaction with the Fellings will also involve a one-time payment of $20,000 in moving expenses for the law office, which may have to move twice in the long run, City Attorney Laurie Hardwick noted.
Hardwick said the city could close on the two property transactions before year's end.
Meanwhile, property acquisition is still to come involving portions of the overall parking garage site currently owned by First Christian Church (the old Commercial Hotel property currently a hard-surface parking lot at Walnut and Jackson streets) and Crown Equipment (the old Jenkins Standard/Amoco gas station site now a parking area at the southwest corner of Indiana and Walnut).
The total cost of property acquisition, Mayor Sue Murray pointed out, will contribute to the city's required $300,000 match on the estimated $3.58 million garage project.
Because of the federal dollars involved on the project, the city has to follow strict federal guidelines for property acquisition, it was noted.
The transactions with the Fellings were approved unanimously Wednesday by the Redevelopment Commission on a motion by Gary Lemon and a second from Drew Brattain.
The parking garage is the biggest single structural element of the City of Greencastle's $19 million Stellar Communities package. The planned public parking garage is to be located on property bordered by Jackson, Walnut and Indiana streets, just a block from the square.
Ratio Architects, Indianapolis, recently unveiled drawings of a building with a limestone look and red brick-like accents that is seen co-existing nicely with older, historic buildings in the area.
"It feels like a municipal building or a federal structure," Project Architect Bill Browne of Ratio said. "We believe it's going to be quite a handsome building for the City of Greencastle."
With the approximate cost of the parking structure estimated at $3,580,250, the majority of funding will come from a $3,280,250 grant through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority via the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
The structure will provide free parking for the downtown with vehicles entering and exiting only via the Jackson Street side of the garage.
Pedestrian access to the garage will be through the northeast corner (with an interior elevator) and northwest corner (via stairs and a ramp).
With final property acquisition and permitting processes still to come, Ratio estimates the project going out for bids early in 2013.
Actual construction is anticipated as taking 9-12 months for completion, likely putting the opening of the parking garage as January 2014 or later that spring.