Council votes 5-2 in favor of Skier Building purchase
AVON — The Town Council voted 5-2 last week in favor of buying the Skier Building for $1.5 million.
If purchased, then that building, now called the Mountain Vista Office Building, would be the new home for Town Hall, which in 2007 had been identified as insufficient and physically depreciated.
Before Town Hall could occupy the Mountain Vista Office Building, it would need a remodel, estimated to cost approximately $2.5 million. The $4 million total has been identified as the least cost option in moving Town Hall.
“In 2014, when we under contract to buy the building for $3.2 million, we had finish costs estimated at $2,452,600. Right now we’re under contract to purchase the building for $1.5 million and we have budgeted finish costs for just over $3 million,” Mayor Jennie Fancher said on Tuesday. “There is a savings of over a million dollars in a cost comparison between today and 2014.”
2014 Purchase Plan Voted Down
In 2014, the $3.2 million purchase price and the method by which the money would be financed drew criticism from voters, who went on to overturn the council’s decision to purchase the building at that price. A fact sheet on the issue told voters that finishing the 14,733-square-foot building was estimated to cost $2,520,000, although a previous appraisal assumed that the cost of making the building ready for occupancy by the town was $1.22 million. The difference in finishing estimates was a point Avon resident Mark Kogan brought up in his own evaluation of the building; at that time he said the town was planning to pay the building’s owner significantly more than it was worth at $3.2 million. The new price of $1.5 million reflects the true value of the building, Kogan said.
“At $1.5 million, the Town is paying less than $100 per square foot for the property, and we should all get behind this fair and appropriate market price and support the Town Council moving forward,” Kogan said.
How Building will be Paid For
The $1.5 million would be paid for in a cash purchase out of the town’s general fund, and the $2.5 million remodel will be paid for using tax increment financing loans already approved in this year’s budget. Both the $1.5 million cash purchase, and the tax increment financing loans used to pay for the remodel, are not subject to referendum.
Voting against the issue were council members Matt Gennett and Scott Prince, who both have said they think the price of the building will drop if the town continues to hold out.
“In six months, maybe it will come down to $650,000, at the rate we’re going,” Gennett said.
The purchase of the Mountain Vista Office Building requires Town Council approval through two readings of an ordinance; Tuesday’s 5-2 approval was the first reading. Residents can learn more at the town of Avon civic engagement meeting in the Wildridge Fire Station on April 4 at 5:30 p.m.