Less than two months after approving the purchase of the downtown Raleigh YWCA, Wake County Commissioners are backing out.
Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to scrap the $1 million purchase of the YWCA land on Hargett Street.
The property was to be added to the county’s land bank to be used for a future school when funding became available. Commissioners Paul Coble, Tony Gurley and Phil Matthews voted against the purchase at that time.
Staff members said Monday there are parking lot encroachment issues with one of the three tracts that make up the property. The City of Raleigh and the seller are in the process of sorting it out.
Meanwhile, the property seller has agreed to close on the two unaffected tracts and will close on the third after the issue is resolved.
The seller has refused requests to delay the closing until the problem with the third is rectified.
Gurley, reading from a prepared statement Monday, said the Commission agreed to purchase all of the tracts at once, and the change of circumstances contradicts the assurance that the Commission gave to the public that the purchase is a good use of taxpayer dollars.
He asked the Commission to deny funding for the project.
Commissioner James West asked if the sale could be salvaged. The strategically located property fits the vision for that part of the county and the City of Raleigh, he said.
“This is a very, very important piece of property,” West said.
Gurley said the school district could still come back to the Commission with a new agreement. He suggested school district staff should try to negotiate a better price.
Matthews agreed with Gurley. He said he already had concerns about the pricing and now the property would be purchased in pieces. He said he’d rather the agreement come back clean and with a better price.
“I can’t support it as it is,” Matthews said.