The Hannibal City Council will hear a recommendation to approve the sale of city-owned property at 422 N. Main St. to Bill Martin and Lance Smith when it meets Wednesday, Jan. 2, in council chambers at city hall.
According to a memo to the Council from City Manager Jeff LaGarce, the proposal involves the establishment of the Moses Bates Mercantile & Pub in the former Murphy Motors site. It would include a micro-brewery, food sales, outdoor dining, a grocer and a furniture showroom.
Deed restrictions would be placed on the property to grant the city rights of first refusal. The city would have the opportunity to re-acquire the site if it were vacated for three or more years. There will also be an opportunity for on-site bus parking to accommodate visitors to the historic district.
The agreed upon sale price is $225,000, which includes acquisition of the property, execution of all deed restrictions and all closing costs at the time of the sale.
That price meets the stated requirement by Mayor Roy Hark that the city not take a loss on the property if it was sold. The City Council approved paying JA Properties, LLC, $220,000 for 422 N. Main St. at its Oct. 16 meeting. The purchase was finalized in early November.
If the Council approves the sale, city funds used to acquire the site would be returned to their respective sources - General Fund, 45 percent; Park Fund, 15 percent; Tourism Fund, 15 percent.
The city’s announced intention for the site was to raze the structure to make way for welcome and information signage, additional downtown parking and a mix of green space and a hard-surface area for hosting downtown events. However, that notion was put on hold after city hall began receiving inquires about the property, which has stood empty since shortly after the Murphy Motors dealership was purchased by the Poage corporation in April 2008.
At the Council’s Nov. 20 meeting it was decided the city would accept written proposals for the North Main Street site and review them in closed session at its Dec. 4 meeting.
While only one proposal was received, no action was taken in closed session on Dec. 4 so Council members could have more time to review the 20-page proposal which included a detailed business plan, site renderings and a time line for opening the business. A proposed date for opening the site has yet to be made public.
The proposal was again a topic of discussion behind closed doors during the Council’s Dec. 18 meeting. No action was taken at the time so “more information and further clarification” regarding the site’s proposed use and its access to the public could be sought, according to City Attorney James Lemon.