State wants to keep a portion of Dorothea Dix property

Posted April 9, 2014

— Gov. Pat McCrory has rejected Raleigh's initial offer to buy the 306-acre Dorothea Dix property, choosing instead to make a counteroffer that would be more expensive and give the city less property to work with for a proposed central park.

"With our proposal, the Governor firmly believes that we have a potential 'win-win-win' solution for the City, the State, and our common citizens: A new central park on the Dorothea Dix property, space for a consolidated and more efficient Department of Health and Human Services, and proceeds from the sale of the Dorothea Dix Property to support the State's mental health mission," wrote Robert Stephens, McCrory's general counsel. Dorothea Dix Campus City of Raleigh offer to buy the Dorothea Dix property Dorothea Dix property in fall State counter-offer for Dorothea Dix property

The city and state have been wrestling with the fate of the Dix campus for years, ever since North Carolina leaders decided to shut down the namesake hospital. Gov. Bev Perdue sparked controversy when she agreed to lease the property to the city in the closing days of her term.

In early 2013, Republican General Assembly leaders threatened to void the Perdue agreement by way of a special law. Instead, the governor and city leaders agreed to renegotiate the deal. The state's counteroffer represents the latest turn in {[a href="blogpost-2"}}negotiations that began in earnest only a month ago{{/a}}.

Counteroffer more costly for Raleigh

The state's counteroffer varies from the city's initial bid in three key respects: price, acreage and environmental cleanup costs.

The city proposed buying the entire property for $38 million. Under McCrory's counteroffer, the city would have to pay $54 million for 244 acres. The state would keep 64 acres to continue housing DHHS, which still has many of its administrative offices on the campus. 

"The cost of relocating DHHS through acquisition of property or the displacement of State agencies on State property will be substantial. To reduce those costs, DHHS must remain on the Dix property," Stephens wrote. "The interests of the citizens and the taxpayers of the State must be protected in this transaction." 

Raleigh's initial offer had also asked the state to bear between $10.9 million and $22.7 million in environmental cleanup costs associated with the property, which has been home to a small power plant, a landfill and buildings with their own individual issues. 

"The State declines to assume any such costs as such costs would only be incurred by the City to use the Property as a 'Central Park' with a 'Destination Attraction.' The State does not dispute that there are various environmental issues," Stephens wrote.


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  • WRAL_USER Apr 15, 2014

    Patty is just waiting to give to property to his campaign donors so they can fill it with a strip mall or parking lots... We, the people, will never see any benefit from this land while the GOP is in office.

  • B.c. Jimmy Apr 11, 2014
    user avatar

    the land needs private development, not a park for bums and vagrants.

  • notexactly Apr 10, 2014

    View quoted thread


  • notexactly Apr 10, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Um no not really! Bev did this on her own. The state didn't have anything to do with it. She did it when she knew she was going to leave. It was her last hurrah! It was wrong of her to do this.

  • vanthomas321 Apr 10, 2014

    There are so many different factions arguing their position on this issue that no one is going to end up completely happy. DHHS has hundreds of employees out there in "paid for "facilities that they don't want to move at additional facilities cost. City of Raleigh wants the entire property. Mental health advocates want a hospital back. A group of wealthy Raleigh individuals (many of whom are connected to development BTW) want a destination park. Non-Raleigh citizens don't want the land given away. Etc., etc., etc.

    FTR, the none of the land was donated, it was purchased by the state. The original tract was purchased "to provide for the establishment of a State Hospital for the Insane". You can read the deed here:


  • archmaker Apr 10, 2014

    View quoted thread

    well, I can certainly tell you why Raleigh wants to buy the land rather than lease it from the state - it might have to do with the fact that they have a valid lease that was just illegally voided by the general assembly and they don't want to have that happen again.

    second, the DHHS was planning on vacating these old decrepit buildings for leased buildings because the state can't afford to build new buildings. heck, mccrory has already stated that the state can't afford to keep their current buildings maintained. it just doesn't happen when cutting taxes is your main priority.

    second, people don't want a state mental hospital there anymore. people don't want to ship their loved ones off to a central place in the state. people want smaller regional mental health facilities so that their loved ones are closer to home.

  • skeeter II Apr 10, 2014


    Better Idea ---- Build high rise office buildings and parking decks to house the state employees currently in LEASED/RENTED office space in Wake County. Over the years that would save BIG BUCK that are in the operation budget as lease/rent payments. Yes the original cost would be high, but the building could be done in phases.

    Seems I have heard one of the PARK backers say that they have been working for years to have Dix closed so the property would be available!!!!!!!! Sounds like a conspiracy to me!!!!!!!!!

    Also why not build another State operated Mental Health Hospital on the property? This is really, really needed!
    Yes the purchase money would be used to HELP THE MENTALLY ILL. But how log it last is spent every year, or how much would be available each year if put into A FOUNDATION and the annual income spent on mentally ill?

  • glarg Apr 10, 2014

    If the DHHS doesnt need the space then there is no point in building it else where.

    If DHHS does need the space then there is no point in selling this land under market value to Raleigh and having to build else where.

    And the city is proposing that the State net only $15.3 M on 244 acres? What sense is there in that?

  • ripetomatoes Apr 10, 2014

    When the right amount of money is inserted in the right pockets this will be over so quickly.
    This is about money, developers and politicians.
    Follow the money...

  • ALECarolina Apr 10, 2014

    Disturbing Fact: A large portion of the ultraconservative base believes the evil leftist liberal democrats kicked all the patients out and closed the hospital down so they could sell it to the City of Raleigh for a park..........even more disturbing, a good chunk of the reality-challenged think Dorthea Dix is STILL operational.

    Welcome to ALECarolina.........formerly known as North Carolina, the most progressive southern state in America. Thanks to gerrymandering and voter suppression laws, we only have about ten years to enjoy our "Biggest Laughingstock In America" title.