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County may sell prime lot on Sixth Avenue West

A physician offered $172,000 for the one-third acre lot and house at 714 Sixth Avenue West. A physician offered $172,000 for the one-third acre lot and house at 714 Sixth Avenue West.

The Henderson County Board of Commissioners could take the first step on Monday night toward the possible sale of a one-third-acre parcel on Sixth Avenue West across from the new Health Sciences Center. It's a block that could become the next hot commercial zone in town.

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Dr. Leon Elliston recently contacted Henderson County Manager Steve Wyatt about whether the county would be interested in selling the land, which contains a 41-year-old house last used as the Sixth Avenue Clubhouse, a day center for mentally handicapped adults.
“He approached me out of the blue,” Wyatt said of Elliston, a physician with Allergy Partners. “I said if you’re serious make a serious offer. We’ll put it in front of the board. I discussed it with (Pardee CEO) Jay Kirby because our original thought was at some point Pardee might want that parcel. Jay indicated to me that, no, they didn’t have any use for it in the foreseeable future.”
Elliston offered $172,000 for the property, roughly half the tax value.
“That’s a good question,” Elliston said when asked about his plans for the property. “It could be retail or medical or apartments.”
Allergy Partners moved from an office at 738 Sixth Avenue West to the Beverly Hanks Center several years ago. Elliston says he’s not looking at the land for the allergy practice.
“But I have a daughter who’s a psychologist,” he said. “She might want to be in that space.”
It’s not clear that a buyer would make use of the old clubhouse, a two-story 5,436-square-foot house built in 1975. Remodeled for office use, it was adapted for the mental health facility operated by a nonprofit agency. The house is valued at $170,400 and the front parcel is valued at $348,900 in total. (The Hendersonville Lightning was unable to verify the tax value of the vacant rear lot, which is less than a tenth-acre and has 50 feet of frontage on Florida Avenue.)
“I asked David Berry, our building expert, and basically he said that it’s outlived its usable life,” Wyatt said. “I asked him would it make sense to renovate it for some purpose and he said it would cost you more to renovate it” than to build new. “The building is in pretty bad shape.”
“I don’t know that he has any particular plans,” he said of Elliston. “My thought is it could be some kind of development.”
There’s talk that the entire block between Justice and Oak is in play for commercial or mixed-use development. Wyatt mentioned the possibility of medical offices or retail use, possibly a café or deli to serve students attending classes at the new health-ed center plus cancer center patients and their families. The Health Sciences Center has a snack bar but no large dining facility.

“The sky is the limit,” Wyatt said. “A mixed use with that on the ground floor and then maybe student housing or young professional housing several floors up. Something like that I think would go before you could snap your fingers.”

If the Board of Commissioners accepts the offer, it would do so conditionally. The offer would be advertised in the newspaper and subject to an upset bid. If the county receives a higher bid “the process continues until the bidding is done,” County Attorney Russ Burrell said in a memo to the board. Elliston also must pay a deposit of $8,600.
Sale of the lots would benefit the county by putting the property back on the tax roll. As government-owned land, it’s exempt from taxes now.