published: Friday, November 23, 2012
City not impressed with Harder Hall offer
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING -- City Council members re-hashed the City's former jewel turned headache, Harder Hall Tuesday night when potential investor Arthur Marrero of Davie spoke to council about his interest in purchasing the Harder Hall property.
Marrero gave members a proposal for purchase prior to Tuesday's meeting. Council member John Clark stated that the proposal was "not acceptable."
"The city attorney had numerous issues with it," Clark stated. "We are happy to have some interest in the property, but a committee would be more effective. I don't want to have the discussion here."
Clark requested that the city appoint a committee to discuss the proposal and possible improvements to it before any action is taken.
Marrero went on the defensive trying to make his case for his bid on the property.
"This is a very old building. It needs some due diligence. The value is the main issue. To my understanding the city already has $4 million into this project," Marrero said.
Council president John Griffin quickly corrected Marrero.
"No. We owe $4 million on it," Griffin said.
"You guys are under water on this property," Marrero countered. "We need to bring it back to life. Bring Harder Hall back to working order and how it was years ago."
Council members were still unimpressed by Marrero's words and especially his low capital for potential purchase. Marrero spoke of using approximately $4 million to restore the property, stating that if the project did not go as planned that it would be "my problem then."
"We understand the value and the real estate has fallen. It's not so much that, it's the terms and conditions that we have a problem with," said Councilman Scott Stanley. "Let's appoint a committee and get these little details hammered out."
Council members voted to approve the appointment of the committee. Griffin appointed himself, Clark and Stanley, along with City Administrator Scott Noethlich and others to the committee, which will meet in public to discuss details of the Harder Hall potential proposal for purchase.
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