City makes offer to buy Dorothea Dix property
Posted April 2, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — Raleigh has made a $38 million offer to buy the Dorothea Dix property – 307 acres boosters hope to turn into a regional park.
Under the agreement, the city would lease 40 acres of the site back to the state for 15 years while the Department of Health and Human Services looks for a new location for its administrative offices. A summary of the offer also would require the state to pay for environmental cleanup costs. City of Raleigh offer to buy the Dorothea Dix property
"As of today, the city has not received a response," said Mike Williams, a spokesman for Raleigh.
Josh Ellis, a spokesman for Gov. Pat McCrory, acknowledged the state has received the offer.
"We are currently preparing a response," he wrote in an email.
Bill Peaslee, a lawyer for the state Department of Administration involved in negotiating the deal, said the city's offer is being given "thought deliberation," but no decision on how to respond has been made.
In prior conversations, Peaslee and other state leaders said they were interested in keeping a part of the Dix campus permanently in order to build a new home for DHHS. The city's deal envisions the state moving off the campus. It's unclear whether that difference would be a roadblock to an eventual deal.
"It's one of the things that's being contemplated," Peaslee said. "I don't know that there's an answer to that yet."
The fate of the campus, which once housed the state's main mental hospital, has been a flashpoint of controversy for years. Most recently, former Gov. Bev Perdue signed a long-term lease for the grounds as she neared the end of her term in late 2012. Republican lawmakers objected to that deal and threatened to negate it through legislation.
Instead, McCrory and city leaders agreed to put the Perdue lease on hold while they negotiated a new deal.
Negotiations began in earnest last month after a pair of new appraisals set the value of the property between $38 million and $66 million.