TOWN OF SPRUCE PINE: Council tours vacant downtown properties
SPRUCE PINE – In lieu of its regular meeting earlier this month, Spruce Pine Town Council toured downtown properties with Main Street Director Libby Phillips and Peter Franklin of Foxfire Real Estate.
The tour took the group to five properties the town anticipates selling to businesses soon – the building currently housing Not Bob’s Antiques, the Carolina Theatre, the site of the old Toe River Texaco station, and the McCall’s and Wellborn buildings.
Council member Jackie Rensink said seeing the properties gave council new insight.
“It was very educational,” she said. “Libby had told us of some of the challenges with these properties, but until you see it, it’s hard to visualize.”
The buildings will all need work before they are ready for a business.
“We do face a lot of challenges in getting any of those buildings ready for occupancy,” Rensink said.
Perhaps the more difficult building to prepare, Rensink said, is the old Toe River Texaco station, which was covered in debris after a rockslide.
“There are so many unknowns with that building,” Rensink said of the former service station. “A geologist told us there is a fault line there and because of that, there can be continued rock activity unless it’s stabilized.”
Rensink said the council unanimously agreed the McCall’s and Wellborn buildings appear most prepared for buyers.
Council member James Acuff said the tour was a “good start,” but council is just beginning the process of deciding how to proceed.
“A lot of businesses don’t have the money to fix the properties up,” he said. “We’ll probably end up going into closed session to talk about how we want to market these properties and get an idea of what the potential businesses would be looking for.”
Some council members discussed the possibility of a brewery or a restaurant in the Not Bob’s Antiques building. Looking at up at the high ceilings and wide space on the first floor, the members came up with many ideas for how to best use the massive space.
“We were just discussing what we could get into these buildings,” Acuff said. “We don’t want to hold on to property. We want to find the perfect piece to invest in and turn it over to somebody to try to break even, but it comes at a big price.”