Haymarket council votes to sell central block

The Haymarket Town Council voted Monday night to sell the town center property and accept a letter of intent to purchase from Creston M. Owen.

Owen is the owner of Manassas-based Falcon Communications and owns several buildings in Old Town Manassas.

The town purchased the property three years ago for $1.25 million. The council decided to accept bids until Monday, but as of April 18, only two offers had been presented. At Monday’s meeting, Haymarket Mayor John R. “Jack” Kapp said the town received several other calls, but no additional bids.

The Town Council voted Monday to sell the town center, which includes such Haymarket landmarks as the Haymarket Grocery, Red Rooster and Town Hall. The council then considered the two letters of intent.

Owen offered the town $1.5 million for the property, along with a promise to renovate the historic Red Rooster and donate it to the town within ten years. Under Owen’s plan, the town would retain use of the current Town Hall.

The other bidder for the property was David W. Robinson, of Robinson Commercial Enterprises in Fairfax. Robinson offered a package totaling $1.25 million, though the town would only receive $100,000. Robinson proposed paying off the loan on the property in addition to the $100,000. The loan is approximately $1,150,000 according to Robinson’s bid. Robinson would also allow the town use of Town Hall in perpetuity.

After making some changes, the Town Council voted to accept Owen’s letter of intent. The decision allows Owen 30 days exclusive rights to negotiate on the sale without competition.

“I think this is good for the town. I encourage everyone to look at the whole package,” Town Councilman David P. Taylor said. “All we’re agreeing to is a 30-day period to not negotiate with anyone else.”

Two of the buildings on the lot were condemned by the town’s building inspector in January. Both Owen and Robinson’s plans call for demolition of the grocery store and an apartment building. The grocery store must be vacated by June 1; tenants of the gray house must vacate by May 1, Kapp said.

Staff writer Maria Hegstad can be reached at (703) 368-3101, Ext. 121.

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