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April 2, 2010

New Albany still hasn’t received response to Hoosier Panel offer

NEW ALBANY — The New Albany Redevelopment Commission and City Council is at a virtual stand still pertaining to three properties the city is trying to sell or purchase.

An offer was extended to last September to Jeff Eastridge by the commission to purchase his CCE, Inc. site, known as the former Hoosier Panel property.

Deputy Mayor Carl Malysz said there’s been “no recent response from the owner or his attorney.”

Appraised at $1.2 million, the commission initially offered $600,000 for the site as it was determined the city would have to pay $600,000 for an environmental cleanup of the property.

The environmental study was ordered by the commission. Since the offer was made, the Hoosier Panel site was included in a tax-increment financing district following a 5-4 council vote.

Malysz said he’ll take the matter up with the commission during its April 13 meeting. The commission could decide to extend a “last call” letter to Eastridge.

Malysz added the commission is waiting for “valid proposals” regarding the Baptist Tabernacle building and site, which the city put up for sale last year.

A proposal regarding the purchase of the former Coyle Dodge site along Spring Street could be forwarded to the council later this month, Malysz said.

The Coyle family proposed the city purchase the site for $1.1 million. It has been appraised at $1.8 million, but the estimated environmental cleanup of the site is between $250,000 and $350,000.

The Coyle family offered to cap the city’s cleanup expenses at $150,000. It’s been suggested the city could use the site for a municipal building or resale the property after redeveloping it.

Commission member and Councilwoman Diane McCartin-Benedetti said she can’t comment on where the deal stands, because there’s been little discussion of it recently due to constraints with other issues.

But the general idea of purchasing the site is still appealing to her, she said.

“I would be interested in pursuing it because there’s no acreage left in downtown New Albany to be able to put a city-county building,” she said.

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