Another appraisal is in the works for the Blue Building as city officials grapple with what to do with a building that’s been vacant for more than 11 years.
During an informal city planning session on Tuesday, elected officials discussed a desire to have the Blue Building appraised. That idea will be considered during a city Building and Grounds Committee meeting this coming Tuesday at 6:25 p.m. at City Hall.
“It’s time to do something with it,” said Alderman Sally Brock. “It’s too early to say if it’s salvageable. It will depend on the appraisal.”
Alderman Stacey Harvey said he was involved with a group four years ago, before he was elected to office, that was interested in bringing a Hilton/ Heritage Inn hotel to the Blue Building site. That deal never came to fruition.
“I feel like they missed a great opportunity four years ago to bring a Hilton/ Heritage Inn hotel to downtown McMinnville,” said Harvey. “These were guys with money in their hands with plans to have it open Labor Day weekend of 2019, but those plans were obstructed. I think there’s unanimous agreement among board members that we get something done with the Blue Building. Whether that’s a sale with the condition to restore it, or a straight sale with no restrictions, the status quo with the Blue Building can’t continue.”
Harvey described the Blue Building as being in “major disrepair” four years ago. No upgrades have taken place since that time which would have improved conditions.
The Blue Building formerly served as City Hall and was also headquarters for the city Police Department. City government left the building in the summer of 2009 and the Police Department departed in November 2009 and it’s been vacant ever since.
Prior to the city leaving, an appraisal was conducted in 2008 by William A. Haston Sr. That appraisal set the value of the property at $850,000 without the building.
The appraisal found minimal value in having the Blue Building on the property and indicated it would cost roughly $500,000 for demolition.
In a 2012 citywide referendum, voters were asked if they were willing to spend up to $6 million to renovate the Blue Building. That measure failed with 60.4% voting no and 39.6% voting yes.
In 2013, the city paid $238,000 to have the Blue Building gym and auditorium demolished and removed. Metal has been placed over an opening where the auditorium was once connected to the Blue Building.