City plans to sell riverfront parcels

The Columbus Redevelopment Commission is planning to sell a couple of riverfront parcels to Moravec Realty.

The commission has received no bids for the sale of property it owns at 15 Brown St. and “46 E. and Water Street” in downtown Columbus, said Columbus Redevelopment Director Heather Pope. Together, the parcels add up to about 3.5 acres.

The commission voted in April to approve a resolution authorizing the disposal of this property.

According to Pope, the two parcels are part of an agreement between the redevelopment commission and Moravec Realty.

In December of 2020, the commission purchased property at 555 First St. from Moravec for $555,000 so that the new Bartholomew County court services building could be constructed at the site.

The commission contributed to this construction project as part of a property swap deal with the county in order to obtain a downtown block surrounded by Second, Franklin, Third and Lafayette streets for construction of a new hotel conference center.

Stan Gamso, who was the commission’s attorney at the time, said that the purchase agreement for 555 First St. also gave Moravec the option to purchase the two riverfront parcels for $300,000.

However, prior to the sale, the commission had to first offer the land for sale to anyone who was interested, said Pope.

“Given that there’s no bids being received, this property, after a period of 30 days from today, can be disposed of by the commission for any consideration that it deems reasonable,” said Bradley Bingham with Indianapolis law firm Barnes & Thornburg. “…Any time on or after June 15, this property can be disposed of at any amount regardless of what was listed in the offering sheet and regardless of the appraisal value for the parcels.”

Pope added that the commission is still working with the Louisville & Indiana Railroad on straightening out property lines in this area.

“Once that’s resolved, then we’ll work through the disposal process,” she said.

She also said that the commission will need to get up-to-date appraisals of the site, as appraisals have a “shelf life” of about six months. The price listed on the public offering sheet was based off appraisals conducted when the city purchased the First Street property from Moravec, she explained.