Group taking loss on Hub-Gilcher complex for future gain

December 21, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

Third Street Development Corp. sold the Hub-Gilcher complex for $575,000, or $385,000 less than it paid for the buildings three years ago.

"Yes, TSDC sold the buildings for less than we gave for them. The sales will result in an approximately $17 million investment in downtown. We at Third Street are sorry if that is seen as a loss by anyone in the community," Third Street President Janet Hamner wrote in an e-mail to The Advocate-Messenger Monday.

Hamner wrote that TSDC will spend the $575,000 it recovered from the sale for downtown economic development, but won't decide on anything specific until after the Hub-Gilcher projects are complete.

A group of doctors paid $175,000 for the Gilcher, once a hotel, and plan to convert it into a surgery center. A Versailles couple paid $400,000 for the Hub, once a department store, and plan to create retail and office space.


Third Street, a non-profit corporation formed to revive the property, used $960,000 from a state grant to pay for the buildings. The state gave the money to the city, and the city gave it to Third Street.

In 2001, the buildings were appraised for $650,000.

Third Street said in a press release Friday that $17 million would be spent to restore the buildings. As a condition of the sale, the Hub-Gilcher's facades will be preserved.

An attorney for the Versailles couple, Tom Marks, said that Audrey and Richard Haisfield hope that by the end of January they will start to announce tenants for the Hub, and for the shopping center they plan to build on Main Street.

Centre's bookstore may move downtown

Centre Shoppes Bookstore could be one of the Hub's first tenants. College officials have said publicly that they are in serious talks with the owners of the Hub about moving the bookstore closer to the heart of downtown.

Why move a couple of blocks down Main Street?

Centre spokesman Mike Norris said it wouldn't be the same bookstore in a different location, but that there would be more merchandise and longer hours.

"It would take a step up," he said. "There would be expanded offerings in a more attractive setting."

Because plans haven't been finalized, Norris couldn't say what might happen to the bookstore's present location.

Sale called "overwhelmingly good news"

Danville City Commissioner Jamey Gay said that the sale of the buildings, and the plans to bring the Main Street corner back to life are "overwhelmingly good news."

"The sale of the property is the real news," he said. "It is a sign of the return of economic viability downtown, and it'll be an economic stimulus to the entire community."

He said the fact that Third Street sold the property for less than it paid isn't a loss. "The goal was to provide economic stimulus, and that'll be accomplished. I wouldn't call it a loss."

Boyle County Judge-Executive Tony Wilder said that he hopes that the project will "result in commercial activity and revitalization of the block" on Main Street.

Hamner wrote, "It sure would be nice if everyone could be happy about how positive these projects are for downtown. Time is short - Christmas is in five days."

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