Committee to recommend selling Triplett building

MOUNT JACKSON – The public properties committee decided Monday it would advise Town Council to sell the old Triplett school building after negotiating with the bidder.

Local businessmen Todd Holtzman and Dexter Mumaw publicized their bid earlier this month, which entailed turning the old school building into a theater, frozen yogurt shop and restaurant. They also said they planned to build at least 14 duplex housing units behind the building.

Town Councilman Ken Hackenbracht said, after consideration, it doesn’t make sense to burden the taxpayers with the costs of maintaining and refurbishing the dilapidated building.

“I’ve thought about it a lot, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no way the town can keep it,” he said.

According to figures provided at the Town Council meeting, the town needs to pay between $60,000 and $100,000 annually to maintain the building and roughly $500,000 to fully refurbish it.

Although all present at the meeting agreed they want to sell the building, they also decided there needs to be some negotiating on the offer.

Holtzman and Mumaw offered to pay a total of $550,000 to the town up front with $120,000 more to come in tap fees. Breaking it down, they are paying $250,000 for the property itself with an additional $300,000 in tap fees up front.

Councilman Rod Shepherd said he would like to ensure that the money the two pay for the tap fees are both nonrefundable and nontransferable. Likewise, he said the town appraisals of the property have it as worth more than the $250,000 offered. He said town workers have valued the property at as much as $875,000, but such estimates are known to vary.

“I’m generally in support of the project, we just need to do some work with the pricing,” he said.

While Holtzman said in his initial offer that he is seeking to allow a theater to operate rent-free in school building, Committee Chairwoman Whitney Miller said the Schultz Theatre in New Market tentatively turned down the offer. Holtzman said earlier this month that Theatre Shenandoah has as well.

The public properties committee will officially make its recommendation to the Town Council at its meeting at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 9.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or jzuckerman@nvdaily.com