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County agrees to close on Boyd purchase

Henderson County Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday night to complete the purchase soon of the Boyd Chevrolet property at Five Points provided the dealer agrees to a $10,000 a month leaseback for up to 18 months.

The commissioners last year agreed to buy the property for $2.75 million for use by Hendersonville High School, which is landlocked and has no room for parking or expansion of its classroom facilities.
Dealership owner Cam Boyd has notified the county that he wants the county to close immediately, a demand the sales contract allows him to invoke. The county has set aside $750,000 in escrow for the purchase, and commissioners said Tuesday night they would borrow the rest in order to close.
The decision to close on the sale right away left unsettled the question of how much to charge the dealership for rent. Boyd Chevrolet has already made plans to move to a 10-acre site on Spartanburg Highway in a project worth $6 million including land and construction. Commissioners voted to set the monthly lease at $10,000 a month, based on the recommendation of county Assessor and Tax Collector Stan Duncan. Duncan's analysis of similar properties and current rates put the rent for the garage at $3.50 per square foot and the rent for the showroom at $9-10 per square foot. Using a different approach, Assistant County Manager David Whitson came up with a monthly rent of $9,997.
Commissioner Bill O'Connor said if the county intends to borrow the $2 million it ought to pass the borrowing costs along to the tenant. His analysis of the borrowing cost put the rent at $12,633 a month, an amount the commissioners should demand "to avoid any possible odor."
"I will not support one penny less than that," he said. "If we do I think it leaves room for people to say we're going into the banking business."
Commissioner Mike Edney disagreed. O'Connor's approach attempts "to make money off our money," he said. "I think it's illegal but if it's not illegal it ain't right."
Commissioners also pointed out that the Boyd family had donated $600,000 of the purchase price. Cam Boyd said that the price the county paid was $600,000 less than an appraisal he had gotten. He said he told county officials that if the county would pay his price he would donate back $600,000.