A purchasing agreement for the old courthouse is expected to be finalized by this summer.
CORPUS CHRISTI -
The sale of the old Nueces County courthouse is a step closer to happening. Nueces County commissioners voted unanimously today to move forward on a bid for that 103-year old building.
The bid came from Nueces County Courthouse Development Partners, LLC. It is a group made up of architects, construction firms, and financial groups from across the country that have worked on restoring other historic buildings Now they hope to do the same with the old Nueces County courthouse.
"This is sort of like Halley's comet. It's only going to come by once in our lifetime, and hopefully we get to see it," said County Commissioner Mike Pusley.
The bid from is the building's first chance at revitalization since it was abandoned four decades ago. The corporation specifically formed to take on the courthouse project,
"These are all solid individuals who have done these kind of projects in other areas, and we're confident that they can move this forward," Pusley said.
Pusley has been working for the past year-and-a-half to sell the old courthouse. It went on the market in September. He says the purchase agreement is expected to be finalized by this summer.
Repairing the crumbling building will cost an estimated $53.5 million, but Pusley says the potential buyers are seeking state and federal tax credits available for restoring historic buildings. They will have to follow guidelines laid out by the Texas and federal historical commissions, including the stipulation that the building cannot be demolished until 2027.
"It will have to be restored, it can't be modified such that you don't recognize it as the old historic courthouse," Pusley said.
County commissioners cannot reveal what the plans are for the courthouse once it is restored, due to a confidentiality agreement. However, Pusley says a successful deal will be a success for the community.
"Once it's done, it enters it back onto the tax rolls and it becomes a viable part of our downtown area which is also going through revitalization," he said.
The confidentiality agreement also prevents commissioners from revealing how much was offered for this building. The county set an asking price of $800,000, plus $1.5 million that is owed in back taxes.
Some of the people involved in Nueces County Courthouse Development partners took on a similar notable project: the Onesto Hotel in Ohio. That 1930s hotel transformed was transformed into modern luxury apartments and an event center. The scope of the project was about the same as the old Nueces County courthouse.