Greensboro now owns the Guilford County mental health building and the 2.6 acre lot it’s on at the corner of West Friendly Avenue and North Eugene Street.
The building currently houses the Sandhills Center and Monarch mental health, agencies that provide mental health care for Guilford County.
Greensboro paid $5.5 million for the land including the building and agreed to lease the building back to Guilford County for two years at a cost of $1 a year.
The Guilford County Board of Commissioners voted to accept Greensboro’s offer in September, but there were a few details to work out before the real estate deal could close. One issue was that Greensboro wanted to tear down part of the mental health building in order to make room for the parking deck.
Considering the rent, it’s not a surprise that Guilford County agreed to allow part of the building to be demolished, but it took some time to work out how it would be done.
This is all part of the North Eugene Street parking deck project and Greensboro buying the land from Guilford County is the first part of a complex real estate transaction that should result in not only a new city parking deck but also the private development of most of west side of Eugene between Bellemeade Street and Friendly Avenue.
Roy Carroll (who owns the Rhino Times) bought the 1.5 acre lot on the corner of Eugene and Bellemeade from Guilford County in 2016 for $1.5 million. Greensboro had originally planned to build the North Eugene Street parking deck on that lot and Carroll planned to build a mixed use building which would have likely included a hotel, office and residential space on top of the parking deck.
However, the city pulled out of negotiations for that project last spring while Jim Westmoreland was city manager. Shortly after that, Westmoreland retired. Current City Manager David Parrish looked at the project with fresh eyes and is credited with coming up with an entirely new plan which the county, the city and Carroll all seem to like.
The city plans to build the parking deck in the interior of the lot, and sell most of the street frontage to Carroll for development. What makes the deal more complicated is that the city also needs some of the land Carroll currently owns to place the parking deck where the city wants it on the lot.
The deal approved by the City Council calls for the city and Carroll to trade some land and for Carroll to buy the remainder of the land including the land mental health building is on from the city.
Parrish said although the real estate deal with Carroll was complicated that he thought it would move along pretty quickly. He said, “We have a mutual interest.”
The North Eugene Street parking deck project for which the City Council has already allocated $30 million is being pushed by a proposed office building to be built on the northwest corner of the Bellemeade and Eugene intersection next to the First National Bank Field.
The proposed office building, the Slugger, couldn’t go forward until parking in that area was available and the city had agreed to build a parking deck to provide it. The playground equipment that was on that lot has been removed, so it appears that a pretty complicated deal is falling into place.