LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Two buildings, owned by the Lee County School District, hit the auction block Wednesday; but only one went to the highest bidder.
An investor named Aaron Howard bid $750,000 for the vacant Dr. James A. Adams Facility. It's the former district headquarters on Central Avenue. He and another bidder went back and forth a few rounds, but the highest bid went to Howard. He'll also have to pay at 10% buyer's premium.
But it's not a done deal yet. The school board still has to approve the sale, and plans to discuss it at next Tuesday's board meeting. Board member Tom Scott attended the auction and wouldn't say whether he will vote to accept the bid. He says, "they (the buildings) don't get better with age when nobody's in them, that's the benefit of having a buyer. $750 is better than nothing which is what we've been getting."
That $750,000 is less than half the 58,000 square foot property's appraised value of $1.9 million. It's sat vacant for years while hundreds of thousands of your tax dollars paid for the upkeep of that building and the Weaver Hipps Complex.
The Weaver Hipps Complex on Alicia Street did not draw any bids, so the auction firm will go into private negotiations with interested parties.
Howard's real estate broker Tom Woodyard of Woodyard and Associates, wouldn't reveal their plans for the building just yet but said it will likely include office space. "There's not a lot of demand for these types of buildings in the downtown area and we think we can put it on the tax rolls and really provide a service for downtown," he says. He says his company actually sold the property to the school district years ago, so he was familiar with it and had their eyes on it for a while.