The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

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April 23, 2014

Two bids received on Exchange Building

City considering sale of downtown landmark

GREENVILLE — The sale of a downtown Greenville landmark drew at least some interest from potential buyers, both of whom offered more than $3 million for the property.

A total of two bids were submitted for the purchase of the Paul Mathews Exchange Building.

The sealed bids were opened Tuesday afternoon. One bid was submitted by Pittman Commercial Properties of Dallas, which offered $3.2 million. The second bid came from someone identified as Bobby Hill, who offered $3.3 million. No address was listed on Hill’s hand-delivered bid, although it noted that $10,000 in earnest money was being held through Kincy Abstract and Sabine Title Company in Greenville.

The bids will be evaluated before eventually being presented to the Greenville City Council for its consideration. The council voted March 25 to give City Manager Massoud 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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