Bank of America offers acceptable contract language

Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton may have technically been on vacation last week, but the city executive was busy between hunts trying to work on the kinks in the city’s pending purchase of the former Bank of America building on 5th Street N.E.
All Bank of America property is managed by the CBRE Group, Inc., and the property manager responsible for the Cairo real estate is Justin Webb, who is based in Atlanta.
Addleton informed Webb that language inserted in the sales contract by Bank of America attorneys requiring a closing date whether a letter of environmental clearance had been received or not was a “deal breaker.”
“I was in contact with Justin (Webb) during my trip and let him know that language was unacceptable, and it would be my recommendation the city walk away from the deal,” Addleton said.
From the beginning, according to Addleton, the city council’s position has been to divide up the property and to close on the northern portion, but to delay closing on the southern section, where a potential for environmental mitigation exists, until the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division issues a “no further action” letter.
In the meantime, work continued last week on the construction of a new drive-up Automated Teller Machine (ATM) by Bank of America on the most southern end of the property near where monitoring wells for the contamination site have been installed.
Addleton said he was glad to see all the work that has taken place, believing it is a bargaining tool for the city if Bank of America did not negotiate in good faith on the purchase.
The city manager says that Webb contacted Bank of America attorneys and at 5:47 p.m. last Thursday a new agreement with language acceptable to the city was received.
“Justin was able to set the bank’s lawyers straight and now we have a document we can agree to,” the city manager said.
Addleton forwarded the email to City Attorney Thomas L. Lehman, who reviewed the documents and issued his opinion last Friday that the contract was now acceptable.
“We will close on the north section as soon as possible, and within 30 days of the no further action letter being issued we will close on the southern section,” Addleton said.
This will clear the way for renovations and construction to make the Bank of America building suitable for its new tenant, the Cairo Career Center of the Georgia Department of Labor, to begin early next year.
The city was successful in negotiating with the Labor Department a delay in the start of the lease with the city for the Bank of America building. The original lease was set to commence on Nov. 1, but Addleton, working through Labor Department officials, was successful in shifting the start of the lease to April 1, 2012.
“It looks like everything has been ironed out and we can move forward with this project,” Addleton said.
Based on the lease agreement with the Department of Labor, the state will pay the city a monthly rate of $4,751 to lease the Bank of America building.
The city is purchasing the property from the bank at a cost of $150,000. However, the city is anticipating spending between $300,000 and $350,000 for required renovations and alterations to the building to suit DOL requirements.
Addleton says it will take 90 to 120 days to complete the renovations and expansion of the facility for use by the Labor Department.

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