Grapevine to pay $3.67 million to buy land for public safety building

Posted Tuesday, Sep. 10, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The City of Grapevine is writing a check for $3,669,886 in hopes of securing the land it wants for a new public safety building.

The price for the 6.3-acre parcel of land, located on the south side of Ira E. Woods Avenue between Highway 114 and William D. Tate Avenue, was set Aug. 30 by a three-person special commission appointed by the Tarrant County Court-at-Law after the city attempted to use eminent domain to seize the land.

It’s more than double the $1.665 million that Grapevine initially offered for the property earlier this year, which was rejected. The property owners are deciding whether to appeal the court-at-law’s decision on the cost.

“The city does intend to deposit that amount into the registry of the court,” Matthew Boyle, assistant city attorney, said on Sept. 4.

Art Anderson, counsel for the property owner’s group named in the lawsuit, Grapevine/Tate Joint Venture (no connection to Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate), said on Aug. 30 that his clients are looking into the matter. The property owners’ appraiser testified to a value of $4.1 million at the special commissioners hearing.

But Boyle said the property is not worth that much.

“The owners’ claim to value is based on sales which are not comparable to the subject in either size or use,” Boyle said. “The property has been on the market for approximately a decade without sale, which clearly does not support the award.”

Boyle said the city is extremely happy with that particular property and would like to own it.

“It is down the street from the existing [police] building, it has good public visibility and it has good public access,” Boyle said.

Last November, voters approved selling almost $70 million in bonds for to build the new public safety building and to make improvements to the city’s Community Activities Center.

Proposition No. 1 called for bonds to construct a 108,000-square-foot public safety building to house the city’s municipal court, police detention center, law enforcement facilities and fire headquarters. Construction is estimated to cost $38.5 million.

Proposition No. 2 was to add 60,000 square feet to the recreation center. It will include a senior center, indoor pool, multipurpose rooms, game room, lockers, meeting rooms and other amenities. Plans are to move the senior activities center there. The estimated cost is about $30.1 million.

At a special City Council meeting on June 27, members unanimously approved awarding the issuance of general obligation bonds for construction of the public safety building and the doubling in size of the city’s Community Activities Center. The award was made to Hutchinson, Shockey, Erley & Co.

“The City of Grapevine City Council takes seriously its responsibility to serve as a good steward of tax dollars,” Boyle said of their attempts to acquire the land.

Marty Sabota, 817-390-7367

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