Dix campus on Council of State agenda

Posted November 30, 2012

— Members of the Council of State will decide next week whether to lease the Dorothea Dix campus to the City of Raleigh for 75 years during a meeting scheduled for Tuesday.

An agenda for the group of statewide leaders defines the lease term as 75 years and pegs the annual cost at $500,000, with a 1.5 percent increase per year. There is a 24-year lease renewal option. 

Raleigh will get a discount on the lease amount based on how much of the 325 acre property the state hangs on to in order to house portions of the Department of Health and Human Services. 

While staffers with Gov. Bev Perdue discussed the parameters of a deal earlier this week, it was unclear whether she would seek approval. Fellow members of the council, which is made of state leaders elected statewide such as the attorney general, have been noncommittal on the plan. Lawmakers have been outright hostile, saying Perdue should leave Dix's disposition to the next governor, who will take office on Jan. 5.

"At this point in time I can't absolutely say it will go of that I'll have the votes. I probably will take it even if I'm defeated," Perdue said late Thursday.

Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group that opposes tax increases and increases government spending, has criticized the deal and is fielding robo-calls to stir opposition.

"If those numbers are true, it's atrocious," said AFP state director Dallas Woodhouse. "It's giving away the property."

At one point, the Dix campus appraised for as much as $80 million if it were to be sold. Later appraisals put the price closer to $34 million. Disputes over price scuttled an earlier deal to sell the property to the city. 

Perdue had hoped to offer a plan to consolidate the Department of Health and Human resources from 60 buildings on the Dix campus and elsewhere in Wake County to five or six buildings. However, that plan doesn't appear on the agenda. 

“After years of discussions, Gov. Perdue believes it is time to move forward on transferring the Dix property to the City of Raleigh," Perdue spokeswoman Chris Mackey said in an e-mail. "The lease proposal is the best way to preserve the land as a park for our citizens, while at the same time providing a revenue stream for the state. While Gov. Perdue would have preferred to include a consolidation proposal to accompany the lease, these plans will require additional review. In the meantime should the proposal be approved, plans may begin on a master plan for a 325-acre park in central Raleigh as soon as the city is ready.”


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  • jcasto Dec 3, 2012

    This is so typical of democrats. We are hurting for money but they are going to spend more anyway putting America & North Carolina deeper in debt. The idea is to cut spending, not increase it. This is exactly why Aunt Bev didn't run again. People are tired of this attitude.

  • skeeter II Dec 1, 2012

    A better idea would be to use the Dix Campus as a state govenmental comples -- build modern buildings and parking garage to house state agencies that currently lease office space.

    The initial new building would have to be funded in the state budget. The lease payments reduced by an agency moving to this new building could be used to fund the next building. A few new buildings each year or couple of years could be funded this way.

    The parking building could be financed by the State using borrowed funds. Since the State employees have to pay for parking in state government parking buildings, this revenue could be used to pay for the parking buildings. Parking could be assigned so no one parked free on the Dix campus. Currently, if you work for an agency that occupies a leased building, then you park FREE! This is not fair to state employee working for an agency that occupies a state owned building!

    As a taxpayer, this would seem better use of Dix campus rather than a large park.

  • skeeter II Nov 30, 2012

    It would make more sense to create a state government complex at Dix and move out of so many leased building in Raleigh and Wake County. This would reduce future budgets.

    The first building would have to be funded by the legislature, but future buildings could be financed with the lease payments of the agencies/Divisions that first moved onto the Dix campus. The lease payments of that group could be used to building more buildings and parking facilities.

    In other words make Dix a governmental complex for not only DHHS but also for other state agencies.

    Why create a park for only those Raleigh citizens that would use it. Question, how will Raleigh fund the lease payments? Using money in the annual budget, or money from the hotel taxes? Either case is a waste of money.

  • luke Nov 30, 2012

    Perdue is seeking a legacy.She needs to leave this property alone.Her legacy is already established.After much remodeling of former patient wards to house DHHS offices,it is extremely wasteful to move DHHS personnel to leased peoperties.The whole idea of moving them to Dix in the first place was to save money.It's time for some common sense in politics.