Pasquotank County’s sale of the former Elizabeth City Middle School to J.D. Lewis Construction Management is expected to close on Jan. 7.
JDL plans to spend around $10 million to turn the former school into 84 market-rate one- and two-bedroom apartments that will be called Betsy Town Flats. JDL expects it will take three years to complete the project.
JDL is buying the former school from the county for $420,000.
The project will be a major point of discussion when county commissioners and City Council hold a joint meeting Monday at 6 p.m. at the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Senior Center.
The Police Athletic League currently uses a stand-alone gym at the former middle school. Plans call for Parks and Recreation to lease the gym from JDL for 20 years with an option to buy it after five years at a predetermined price.
JDL would renovate the PAL gym but those costs, plus interest would be amortized through the lease agreement.
A lease agreement for the gym has to be in place before the sale of the former school can be formalized.
Parks and Recreation staff and representatives from PAL created a “wish list” of renovations for the gym. Using the wish list as a guide, JDL provided architectural drawings and an estimated cost to complete those renovations, Elizabeth City Downtown, Inc. Executive Director Deborah Malenfant told City Council earlier this week.
“Parks and Recreation staff and PAL representatives reviewed those drawings and made some suggested revisions, which the developer is working to revise and requote,” Malenfant said.
The original wish list included repairing the existing roof to make it structurally sound, installing an air-conditioning unit and either repairing or replacing the gas heating system, remodeling restrooms and the concession area and remodeling office space among others.
Malenfant said the final proposal will be on the agenda at Monday’s joint meeting. She said it will be recommended that Parks and Recreation enter into an agreement to have JDL complete the requested renovations.
Commissioners and councilors will also review a proposed lease/buy-back agreement at Monday’s meeting. Action could be taken Monday or City Council and commissioners could vote on the matter at their respective December meetings.
Once the project is completed the county is expected to collect around $21,000 a year in property tax revenue while the city will receive around $18,000 annually.
According to an Estimated Economic Development Impact statement, the city and county will also receive other economic benefits from the former school building’s use as an apartment complex.
Once full, sales tax revenue generated by apartment residents is expected to be almost $116,000 a year. Estimated total spending by the complex’s residents is estimated at almost $3.6 million annually.
It is also estimated that the project will create around 147 jobs.