The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

Local News

March 26, 2014

Council votes to explore Exchange Building sale

GREENVILLE — City Manager Massoud Ebrahim urged the Greenville City Council Tuesday to consider selling the Paul Mathews Exchange Building, before it becomes a potentially significant financial burden to the city.

“We feel there is a huge risk to the city with this building,” Ebrahim said during Tuesday’s council meeting, as he asked the council to pass an ordinance giving him and Mayor Steve Reid the authority to negotiate the sale of the building at market value.

Ebrahim stressed the final decision will be up to the council.

“The ordinance is only going to allow the city manager and mayor to start the process,” Ebrahim said. “You will decide whether the building is going to be sold.”

The building opened in the late 1920s, but was closed as a banking institution in 1985. While some offices stayed open for a while, the building was completely vacant by the time the City of Greenville and the Board of Development joined forces to start a renovation project in early 2001, transforming the structure into a one-stop government center. The restoration was completed in 2003.

The building was renamed again to the Paul Mathews Exchange Building, in honor of the former bank president on the occasion of the late Mathews’ 100th birthday on January 3, 2004.

The renovations to the building were funded under $6.7 million in debt, which is scheduled to be paid off in 2028. Most of the original tenants’ 10-year leases expired in 2013. One tenant has since renewed with a long-term lease agreement, with the remainder under year-to-year leases or under no lease agreements at all.

“In this year’s budget, we are subsidizing this building with $271,000,” Ebrahim said.

The Hunt County Tax Assessor-Collector’s Office is on a month-to-month lease on the ground floor, while the lease of the North Central Texas Workforce for the second and third floors expires at the end of this month.

Ebrahim said the offices represent more than $275,000 in lease revenue which is not guaranteed, potentially leaving the city on the hook for more than $576,000, equivalent to 4 to 5 cents on the property tax rate.

“If we did have guaranteed leases through 2028 on this building, I wouldn’t be standing here,” he said. “But we don’t have that.”

Council member Dan Perkins expressed concern that the council had not been in contact with Hunt County officials, and had not spoken with the city’s bond counsel about the ramifications of a potential sale. Perkins also noted that the bank building itself is a significant asset for the city.

Reid disagreed.

“It is an asset, but it is a non-earning asset,” Reid said. “It is a deficit asset.”

Reid also asked the council for the opportunity to at least see if there was some interest from potential buyers, before tenants start to leave.

“A half-empty building is a lot harder to sell that a building that is full,” Reid said. “Maybe somebody will step up and maybe they won’t.”

Council member James Evans made the motion to adopt the ordinance, comparing the building to a beloved car which needs constant repairs.

“You reach a point ... when the danger of cost liabilities is so large you take the loss,” Evans said. “It scares me very, very much.”

The measure passed on a 5-1 vote, with Perkins against.

Text Only
Local News
Featured Ads

See more photos and purchase prints here.


Does Dallas head coach Jason Garrett need for the Cowboys to make the playoffs during the 2014 football season to keep his job?

Who knows with Jerry Jones as owner?
     View Results
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
Must Read
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Reader's Choice