County approves purchase of transload facility

County, City of Lenoir will share purchase costs
Nov. 20, 2012 @ 08:05 AM

The Caldwell County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved an agreement to purchase the Lenoir Transload facility off U.S. 321-A during its meeting Monday at the City-County Chambers in Lenoir.

The purchase price is $900,000 with $50,000 in earnest money that will be credited toward the purchase price. The cost of the purchase will be shared between Caldwell County and the City of Lenoir with the county providing $600,000 of the purchase price, including two thirds of the earnest money. The purchase contract specifies that the county will acquire a two-thirds undivided interest in the property with the city holding the other one third.

The rail site has been leased since April 2007 from Carolina Transload LLC, a company formed by Robinson Lumber Company President George Robinson. The earnest money deposit is required to be made with Robinson’s lawyer once the purchase contract is signed at closing. Should closing not go through because of a breach on the part of the seller or because one or more of the contract conditions are not met, the earnest money will be refunded.

There is a special provision in the purchase contract to allow for a short sale of the property because the tract is mortgaged for more than the purchase price. To satisfy the short sale, Robinson will enter into a five-year lease with Woodpecker Group for a portion of the property not containing the transload facility. The rent from that agreement will then be paid to Bank of Granite to satisfy the short-sale agreement. If that lease is terminated early or if the tenant fails to pay the rent, the county will have no responsibility to Bank of Granite, and the tenant will be responsible for taxes, insurance, maintenance and upkeep of the leased land, buildings and equipment.

Should the seller not be able to reach an agreement with the bank, the county has no obligation to close because a condition of the contract would not have been met. The contract calls for a closing date on or before Jan. 31, 2013, but that date could be pushed back because there is no language in the contract specifying that time is of the essence in closing the sale.

As previously reported by the News-Topic, the $1.4 million facility was opened in November 2008 and was constructed off Norwood Street thanks to funding provided by state and federal grants, along with money from Google.

In order to allow for Google’s selection of Lenoir for a data center, the county and city agreed to suspend more than 5 miles of rail service, but officials still had to find a way to provide transportation services for companies affected by the suspension, including Sealed Air, Boone Lumber and New River Building Supply. At the current transload site, rail cars have been offloaded and materials trucked to the companies.

Look for more details from Monday’s meeting in future editions of the News-Topic.