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Ahoskie looks to lease old CHJ property

AHOSKIE – Two thousand dollars in hand is better than an empty fist.

That’s the thinking of Ahoskie Town Manager Tony Hammond whose suggestion of leasing the old Charles H. Jenkins property was approved by the town council during their meeting here Tuesday.

The property, located on Memorial Drive, was donated to the town last year prior to the dealership relocating its business to NC 42 West.

The town originally planned to renovate the old car dealership for use as the Ahoskie Fire Department. However, after hearing a proposal last month from Wooten Company architect Russell Pearlman, town council members chose not to proceed at this time with those plans. Pearlman estimated that $1.48 million was needed to renovate the property for use as a fire station. Another plan upped that price to nearly $2 million.

Since acquiring the property, the town leased it back to Charles J. Jenkins for a short period of time prior to the dealership moving. Wal Mart leased it for a short time over recent months, using the building for storage while the Ahoskie store was being renovated. That lease has since ended.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Hammond said there is interest from a business to lease the building.

“They have made an offer of $2,000 per month plus paying for the utilities,” Hammond said. “Although the $2,000 is not what we were receiving (in rent), having a business onsite is more preferable than having a vacant building.”

Hammond went on to mention that it has cost the town over $11,000 in upkeep on the building over the last six months.

“Is the business interested in leasing the building a good fit for the area,” Councilman Malcolm Copeland inquired.

“Yes, they are the same type of business that was once there,” Hammond answered, not mentioning the name of the interested party.

Councilwomen Elaine Myers asked if there had been any other inquiries about leasing the building, to which Hammond answered, “no.”

Hammond did add that the business interested in the property would only use the front half of the building, allowing the town to retain the back half to use as they see fit.

“The interested party will be responsible for fixing up the front part of inside the building to use as office space,” Hammond noted.

Copeland made a motion to offer the interested party a 12-month lease at $2,000 per month (plus utilities). Myers offered a second and the motion passed without objection.