By: Michael Campbell News Editor
9:35 a.m. | August 3, 2017
PRINCE GEORGE – After months of revisiting and a bid being rejected for a surplus piece of land, the county has finally sold a former lagoon property just off James River Drive in the county.
The 1.6-acre land parcel known as Rivers Edge Lagoon was sold to the highest bidder via GovDeals for $40,000 following a total of 123 bids since the first bid was placed on the property in mid-June.
In January, the county decided to move forward with the sale of the site following a work session where the future of the property was discussed at length.
According to the county, the site near the intersection of Buxton Street and Ridge Road just off James River Drive has been maintained by the county’s public works department but is currently not in use by the department, prompting them to reach out to the board for ideas for its usage during a December 2016 work session.
At that time, county officials and representatives of the utilities department discussed the possibility of simply selling the property, with the Prince George Assessor estimating the value of the 1.6-acre property ranging between $40,000 to $90,000, planting trees and reforesting the area to restore it to its original state, some form of recreational use, or possibly a community garden.
In its prior use, the site contained a sewage lagoon that was abandoned and eventually backfilled about 25 years ago.
In January of this year, staff recommended that the site be sold as surplus property and supervisors agreed to place the site on the market.
In late February, the lone bid through the procurement process came in, with the buyer offering to purchase the plot of land from the county for approximately $2,000. Following discussion among board members which centered around the relatively low bid when compared to the stated assessed value at past meetings, supervisors opted to reject the bid and move forward to solicit new bids during their May meeting.
At that spring public hearing, no new bids were presented and leaders were given the option to put the site back on the market, keep the land, split the property with surrounding property owners at a fair price, or place it on the auction block with GovDeals.
According to county officials in May, the Fiscal Year 2018 assessed value has the site valued at $6,500, well below the earlier estimate of between $40,000 and $90,000. According to Chairman Bill Robertson, one of the contributing factors to that low assessed value is due to the fact that the former sewage lagoon was filled in and in order to build on the land, it would take “a significant amount of foundation work.”
It was decided in May to move forward with placing the land on GovDeals with a minimum bid set of $4,000.
With the board only meeting once during the summer months and the bidding slated to end on July 18, well after their July meeting and weeks before their regularly scheduled August meeting, supervisors agreed to approve the sale of the land for $5,050, which was the highest bid as of July 4, or any amount higher.
Between their meeting on July 11, where it was agreed upon to accept the highest bidder at the time of the auction’s closure on July 18, and the close of bidding, the price bidding rose by nearly $35,000.
According to GovDeals, in the final half-hour of bidding, two bidders vied for the former lagoon property, driving the bid up by $20,000 before bidding closed at $40,000 just before 12:30 p.m. on July 18.
Along with additional foundation work needed to build on the property, the buyer would have to pay to connect to surrounding water and sewer, as well.
According to county officials, taxes on the R-1 residential zoned site would run “approximately $60 [per year].