News and Tribune

Floyd County

July 12, 2008

Develop New Albany sells White House Centre

Develop New Albany has sold the White House Centre, located at 222 Pearl St., after owning the building for 13 years.

In a news release, organization officials confirmed the sale of the Centre to New Albany White House LLC, which is co-owned by John Waggoner — president of Hornblower Marine Services.

Waggoner led the restoration of the Reibel House, located at 115 Market St., where Hornblower is now located. He was recognized by Develop New Albany and other organizations for his work with the Reibel House.

“The White House Centre is a landmark downtown New Albany building,” Waggoner stated in a news release. “The building has tremendous potential and its restoration could help spur further development in downtown.”

Develop New Albany President Debbie Farmer said she is pleased that Waggoner has purchased the building.

“We are delighted to have found such a great steward for this property,” she stated in a news release. “John Waggoner has a track record with the New Albany community.”

The Centre was built in 1866 and has housed retail stores for the most part. It was home to the White House Department store until 1979, and was renovated following a 1902 fire.

Develop New Albany purchased the building in 1995.

Further refurbishings were accomplished through grants and loans, including a $165,000 loan from the New Albany Redevelopment Commission. Develop New Albany will be allotted space for its headquarters, according to the agreement.

Waggoner plans to make “immediate improvements to the interior and infrastructure of the building.”

Those upgrades will create more retail space on the first floor and provide remodeling for the second floor, according to Waggoner.

“I hope to see it become a bustling retail center and office complex,” he said.

Farmer believes the history of the Centre will be preserved.

“Develop New Albany’s purchase and rehab of the building saved the structure,” she said. “The sale of the building to Mr. Waggoner allows the property to be taken to the next level and places it back on the tax rolls.”

Farmer added Waggoner’s resources will help maintain it as an important building for downtown. The business New Albany White House also includes Marissa Waggoner and Claudette Foerster.

Develop New Albany will benefit from the transaction, Farmer said.

“The sale will allow Develop New Albany to get away from time-consuming building management, back into advocacy and event-related work that is our mainstay,” she said

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