Two-and-a-half years after the city of Urbana began the process of trying to acquire the former Q3/JMC Inc. property, vacant since 2008 and partially destroyed by a 2015 fire, the Champaign County Board of Revision on Tuesday agreed to hand the 605 Miami St. site over to the city free and clear of delinquent taxes and assessments.
“It’s been a long journey, but I’m glad we are finally moving forward,” said city Director of Administration Kerry Brugger.
To begin the process of transferring the 26 parcels from the county to the city, the Board of Revision unanimously approved an order of transfer. The sheriff will execute the transfer of the deed.
County Assistant Prosecutor Jane Napier said the order of transfer includes a 30-day waiting period, during which an appeal may be filed. If no appeal is made, the sheriff can sign the deed over to the city.
“This is a really good example of a cooperative effort between the city and county entities,” she said.
In order for the city to be given the property free and clear of all taxes and assessments, the Board of Revision also passed a motion ordering the county auditor to wipe away all existing delinquent taxes on the date of transfer for all 26 parcels listed in the order of transfer.
According to county Treasurer Robin Edwards, the current delinquency on the Miami St. property stands at $264,396.24.
While the county has agreed to waive the delinquency, in return, the city has laid out a plan to get the property back into productive use.
In November, Brugger informed City Council and the Board of Revision that a three-party agreement is in the works among the city, a developer who would oversee the property and receive nearly $900,000 in grant funding to clean up the site, and Honeywell, who would be responsible for remediating contaminated groundwater issues on the west side of the property that the company became liable for when it acquired Grimes Aerospace.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Brugger said the three-party agreement has yet to be finalized, but the city is moving forward with the project while the final details are worked out by the developer, whose name will be made public once the deal is finalized.
Downtown Mechanicsburg properties addressed
The village’s desire to acquire four properties – 1 and 5 N. Main St. (side-by-side vacant lots on the corner of North Main and West Sandusky streets), and 2 and 4 N. Main St. (side-by-side vacant buildings at the corner of North Main and East Sandusky streets) – via expedited foreclosure was addressed by the Board of Revision.
The properties in question, which the village was seeking to acquire in hopes of getting them put into productive use, are owned by Mechanicsburg-based North Coast Properties of Champaign County LLC.
Napier said prior to Tuesday’s meeting, the county treasurer agreed to allow the property owner to redeem two of the foreclosed properties – 1 and 5 N. Main St. – after the owner paid roughly $54,000 or over half the amount in delinquencies owed on the four properties (five parcels).
Edwards added the remaining delinquency on the other three parcels (2 and 4 N. Main St.) stands at approximately $41,000.
Considering the tax value of the parcels are now higher than the delinquency, Napier informed Mechanicsburg Mayor Greg Kimball and Village Administration April Huggins-Davis that the expedited foreclosure process can no longer be applied to 2 and 4 N. Main St.
Instead, she said, since there is some equity in that property because the tax value is higher than the delinquency amount, the remaining foreclosed properties have to be made available to the public via a sheriff’s sale in which the minimum bid is the delinquency costs, etc.
With this in mind, the Board of Revision passed an order of sale for 2 and 4 N. Main St. via a sheriff’s sale.
Edwards added that if the properties fail to be sold during two separate sheriff’s sales, they would be offered to the village prior to heading to bid at an auditor’s sale.
The earliest the village could acquire the properties would be March, Napier said, assuming they go unsold during the two sheriff’s sale expected to take place in February.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304 or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.