The property at 65 E. Main Street.

City agrees to purchase property beside SYCC for $145,000, pending approval of seller

BUCKHANNON – Buckhannon City council has approved a purchase agreement for the property located at 65 East Main Street, beside the Stockert Youth and Community Center.

The property is owned by the fraternal organization the Knights of Pythias. The SYCC board and city officials have been hoping to purchase the property as part of their plan to construct a new multi-purpose auditorium/gymnasium facility beside the existing center.

Council discussed the purchase in an executive session last week and decided to draft the agreement, which will now be sent to the Knights of Pythias for their approval.

If the agreement goes through, the city plans to raze the existing building.

On Thursday, city attorney Tom O’Neill said he expects things to proceed smoothly.

“Before coming to this meeting, I heard back from the Pythias attorney and she indicated that she had to review the purchase agreement, so we don’t have their approval of this yet, but I would expect that to happen,” O’Neill said. “Our recommendation to the council is to approve the agreements and authorize the mayor to sign. There aren’t going to be any substantive changes to the agreement — there may be a couple of small tweaks that are not a big deal, and if there’s anything more than that, we will bring it back to the council for reconsideration.”

The purchase price in the agreement is $145,000.

According to a previous My Buckhannon article, talks of purchasing building fell through in November 2019 when city officials and the Knights of Pythias could not agree on a price. According to the article, the Knights asked for $187,000 – nearly double what the city offered.

At the time, the city had the property appraised for $105,000.

The $145,000 price first emerged after SYCC executive director Debora Brockleman spoke with Knights of Pythias treasurer Warren DeBarr before the February 2021 SYCC board meeting.  

“I called him and asked if they had any intentions to sell – or if they could sell the building – and I think we had a good conversation,” Brockleman said during the Feb. 1 SYCC board meeting. “I asked for a price tag and he said they would take $145,000, but he also said they have a lawyer, and we needed to speak with the lawyer, and that he would contact his lodge brothers, but he knew that they wanted to sell as well.”

At the conclusion of that meeting, board members agreed to let O’Neill and the Knights of Pythias’ attorney negotiate a deal. The organization held firm to the offer of $145,000, which is the amount the city ultimately approved Thursday.

According to O’Neill, council will need to take some additional steps but the closing should take place before June if everything goes as planned.

“The closing will take place on or before May 31,” O’Neill said. “This gives council time to enact the necessary ordinance to approve the acquisition.”

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