I had to investigate a similar situation just up the road from Pensacola. The Dept had a inpatient facility at Mt Vernon, AL. On this campus was a building built in the late 1930's that had been abandoned since about 1985. It was of absolutely no use to anyone except as cleaned bricks. The best estimate I could get was just short of $1 million to tear down and remove the building with the salvage contractor getting all the materials. We had strong ties to a large volunteer program like Habitat in the Mobile area. It was proposed that we give the building to them and that they tear it down. Their answer was, "Don't be silly!"
Organizations like that just aren't interested in work that requires a high degree of professional expertise because they have to hire it done.
BTW, that building still stands because no one in the Dept saw a million dollar expense as worth doing just because it was the responsible thing to do. A year ago they closed the whole facility and abandoned it in place. The reason was that Mt Vernon was physically too far from population centers to recruit people. Now they are wondering why the Dept can't sell the place ... despite the place being too far from population centers to recruit people plus the fact that no significant maintenance monies have been spent on it in the past 10 years. Just one of the reasons why I bailed when I did.
I think we are at the mercy of the IQ of those in charge of making these decisions.
Originally Posted by PamK
It has been demonstrated over and over again that there is a LOT of waste in all these agencies. Based on that, it is inconceivable that we can't cut such a small percentage of the budget without damaging truly needed programs. The lack of business expertise among our Federal workers is probably a factor as well.
So, there we have a situation where spending the $1 million might have saved a whole lot more over the long haul, but nobody had the foresight. If they had spent the $1 mill, could the land have been returned to some other use, or just returned to its natural state. Would these isolated locations be good locations for prisons?
Originally Posted by Eric Johnson
In the Dept of Corrections had moved in, they'd have had to buy it from us and they didn't have the money to buy it let alone to upgrade the security. They were offered the site..
Originally Posted by Gerry Clinchy
Tearing down the building would have resulted in about half an acre of greenspace surrounded by other buildings...that's all. It really is about a state gov't putting on big boy pants and funding the tear down just because it should be done. However, the inclination in government isn't to do things like this.
So, sometimes don't govt entities sell land/buildings for $1 just to get them off their books? Usually to non-profits from what I've seen.
I does occur to me that some companies would be willing to strip out some things like copper from some of these old buildings. That might at least generate some revenue to offset the teardown costs?
Why not tear down all the buildings at the same time?
Could any of buildings like this at least be used for storage? Or rented as storage space?
Alabama has a law called the State Land Sales Act. It requires an appraisal for any real property transaction and then it must either be a public auction or a sealed bid. In either case, the minimum bid must be at least the appraised value. It made some sales impossible but on the whole, it protected the Dept and it's land from politicians trying to get their hands on the Dept's property.
The law came into existence after the owner of Hills Bros coffee bought a 40 acres tract from us in 1990 for $48,000. He submitted two fake offers from two of his employees....unbeknown to the Dept. Once the land was sold, he cut $186,000 worth of timber from the land and then annexed the land to his ranch next door. I'm not certain of all the details but he went to Federal prison for three years, re-paid the $186,000, and the land reverted to the Dept but we were forced to sell the land and keep the proceeds. It was at that time I was moved into the position of Construction and Land Mgr for the Dept and ran a really tight ship. One dude went to prison and I wasn't about to. In the end, I turned our land into a money-making proposition between ag leases, timber sales, hunting leases, commercial leases and land sales. We made about $2 million a year off 15,000 acres and my salary. I often pointed out that I was one of the few profit centers in the whole of Alabama government.
We had a piece of land that was leased to a non-profit for 50 (another 30) years for $100 a year. It was worth about 50 times that but we couldn't reverse the lease. The non-profit wanted enough to build a new facility elsewhere. However, we couldn't recover the lease for more than the $3,000 value that was still due.
So, the direct answer is that we can't sell property for $1. We can't even lease property for storage for $1.
While some property can be demolished for a discount, rarely is the cost of demolition completely offset by the salvage value. We did that once by demolishing 6 wings of a hospital. Unfortunately it was the last unmodified Kirkbride designed facilities for the mentally ill. At three stories, there were enough bricks that once cleaned, they filled whole railroad cars and were taken to New Orleans for custom homes all over the country. The bricks were an unusual dimension that made them worth a piece of change.
Probably more than you wanted to know...