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Local News

May 21, 2014

And then there was one...

GREENVILLE — City of Greenville officials are currently in negotiations with a bidder on the sale of a downtown landmark.

Two bidders each offered more than $3 million last month for the Paul Mathews Exchange Building. Pittman Commercial Properties of Dallas offered $3.2 million, while Bobby Hill offered $3.3 million, with $10,000 in earnest money deposited through Kincy Abstract and Sabine Title Company in Greenville.

City Manager Massoud Ebrahim said Hill is the only bidder in the running right now.

“One of them actually withdrew, the one from Dallas,” Ebrahim said, adding Hill’s offer remains on the table.

“We are still working with him,” Ebrahim said. “He is still working with the tenants in the building to put together some long term leases ad he is working with his bank on the financing.”

The bids will eventually be presented to the Greenville City Council for its consideration. The council voted March 25 to give Ebrahim and Mayor Steve Reid the authority to negotiate the sale of the building at market value.

According to the building’s historical marker, the first bank in Greenville was the private Hunt County Bank, organized in 1879. The owners soon reorganized under the Federal Banking Act and the Greenville National Exchange Bank was chartered on Feb. 14, 1887. The name was shortened in the 1920s to the Greenville Exchange Bank and it was moved to the building at 2500 Stonewall Street in 1927.

During the next few decades, the building also housed an assortment of professional offices. In 1962, the name changed again to the First Greenville National Bank. A year later the building was remodeled. In 1985 the building was closed as a banking institution. While some offices stayed open for a time, 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 building includes 32,108 square feet of rentable space among eight floors and it is fully occupied.

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 are under no lease agreements at all.

Ebrahim said the city is subsidizing this building with $271,000 in the current budget.

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 expired at the end of March.

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.

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