September 15th, 2005 15:30 EST
Carbondale City Property Bought for Three Times its Value Remains Unused
After paying more than three times the assessed market value for the American Tap property, Carbondale city officials say there are no buyers, pointing instead to the success of other developments. The city purchased the property (a bar from 1972 to 1995) for $150,000, from its owner, Henry Fisher. The appraised market value of the property, located at 518 S. Illinois Ave., was originally $39,000.
Fisher, who is serving a 12-year sentence for the 2001 sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl, purchased the Tap building in December 1995 for $45,300. City Manager Jeff Doherty said there have been ongoing discussions with potential developers regarding the site.
"They haven't proceeded at this point, but maybe at a later date," Doherty said. "Hopefully someone will step forward." Mayor Brad Cole said the city is re-developing the area, and is examining its options.
"There are lots of things we can do there," Cole said. "We're keeping an eye on it." Doherty said no current market value on the property could be given, but said other city developments deserve recognition, such as the Save-A-Lot grocery store and the First Southern Bank, both currently under construction. He said plans for a Holiday Inn Hotel is also in progress.
In addition to a new Kohl's department store, which opened earlier this year, Doherty also said there is one other development in progress, which has not yet been announced.
Economic Development Manager Jeremy Hayes said the city has various improvement projects in the works, such as the New Era Road construction and the Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant; both are slated to be completed in the spring.
The City Council is also reviewing the community investment program, a five-year schedule of improvement projects including street reconstruction, improving water and sewer lines and intersection redevelopment.
Hayes also said the Tax Increment Financing District created last year, which reimburses developers for some costs of development, aids the city with improvements.
"Revenue created within that district creates new development, new job opportunities, which is good for the city in a number of ways," Hayes said.
"It's an opportunity to get some physical improvement as well as business development."