Peace University eyes Seaboard Station
Posted April 16, 2013 7:10 p.m. EDT
Updated April 18, 2013 7:10 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — William Peace University has expressed interest in possibly purchasing Seaboard Station, which is in the middle of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
Rumors were flying through social media on Monday, expressing fears of a teardown or redevelopment. Some residents and businesses are urging the community to speak out.
Triangle Business Journal reported in March that Gregory & Parker Inc., filed for Chapter 11 reorganization last year with $18.7 million in liabilities and $2.8 million in assets. Seaboard Station, located just north of Peace Street, is completely leased.
The school confirmed interest Monday in an email statement attributed to the university that was provided to the Record by the school’s public relations firm.
“The Seaboard Station property is in bankruptcy and we understand that there are several parties interested in it, including William Peace University,” the statement said.
In an email provided to the Record by Raleigh resident Matthew Brown, college president Debra Townsley said if the school were to acquire the property it would be used for income.
“Seaboard is one more attraction in Raleigh that makes WPU an excellent place for students to attend college and employees to work,” she wrote.
Seaboard Station, as seen from across Peace Street. Photo by Leo Suarez.
Seaboard Wine Warehouse owner Doug Diesing said that during a bankruptcy hearing that he attended in March, an attorney representing the university said the school was willing to make an offer on all or part of the properties.
The Ace Hardware located in the shopping center posted something similar on its Facebook page.
“The majority lender, Regions Bank, is trying to (1) move the proceedings to Chapter 7 to force the court to order immediate liquidation of the property or (2) dismiss the Bankruptcy and take possession of the property whereupon they will sell to William Peace University,” said the post.
Ace representatives did not return calls requesting comment.
Adding fuel to the fire is a public hearing during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. The school has applied for $16 million in tax exempt bonds through a public finance authority in Wisconsin, which, according to a memo from an attorney representing the school, will be used for refinancing existing debt, renovating and building residence halls and educational facilities and the construction of Delway Street.
While the city does not have any financial stake in the bond money, it will be holding the public hearing during the City Council meeting at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Mordecai CAC Co-Chair Kim Gazella said that she would like the Council to hold off on the public hearing until the school is able to give the community more information about its plans.
Gazella isn’t against the school applying for bond money, but would like more information as to what will be done with it.
Diesing, who has been a Seaboard tenant since 1985, has been following the bankruptcy proceedings closely, but the possibility of a new owner was news to Phydeaux Manager Paul Duke.
Duke found out from his employees Monday morning.
Phydeaux has 10 years left on its lease with Seaboard, so Duke said he has no immediate concern for the store’s future.
With all of the development in the area, Duke said, “I think we’re in a sweet spot.”
He went on to say that if the store couldn’t continue after its lease is over, there are plenty of communities that would take it.
As more information comes to light, Diesing said that he just wants the process to be transparent and if it comes down to a sale, he’d like for all interested parties to have a chance to bid.
Representatives of Gregory & Parker, the owner of Seaboard Station, could not be reached for comment Monday.