By Michale Knox
Read the original article in the Independent Tribune.
KANNAPOLIS —The City of Kannapolis now owns downtown Kannapolis after purchasing the properties from billionaire David H. Murdock, creator of the North Carolina Research Campus.
The City of Kannapolis is using bonds to pay for 46 acres in downtown Kannapolis for $7.5 million. The properties are valued at $25 million, officials said. Closing documents and deeds were recorded with the Cabarrus County Register of Deeds Thursday.
The purchase includes properties on Oak Avenue, West Avenue, South Main Street and West First Street, including the former Cannon Village, the Gem Theatre, the current Kannapolis City Hall offices, Wells Fargo Bank, the current Kannapolis Police Department and the former Plant 4 site.
Officials have previously said the city will “inherit” the leases of the businesses that currently operate in downtown, including the Gem Theatre. Other inherited leases include those for Restaurant 46, and the offices for Castle & Cooke, Inc. and Atlantic American Properties, Inc., which are businesses operated by Murdock. As part of the agreement with the city, those businesses owned by Murdock will each have a lease rate of $1 a year for the next 10 years.
The legal process for the purchase began in March. At that time, Lynne Scott Safrit was the president of Castle & Cooke-NCRC properties and Clyde Higgs was vice president, who acted on Murdock’s behalf to initiate the sale, documents show.
While contract negotiations have been underway, Development Finance Initiative (DFI), the organization guiding the revitalization of Kannapolis, has been working on a market analysis study of downtown. The analysis will give officials an idea how much square footage should be devoted to different markets, such as retail, residential and office space.
DFI has also been organizing work sessions with the Kannapolis City Council to discuss revitalization efforts in downtown Kannapolis and determine how the council would like to see downtown develop.
Contact reporter Michael Knox at 704-789-9133.