Mayor Andre Sayegh’s administration and City Council members have been debating what to do with the vacant former Galaxie Chemical Corporation building on Piercy Street.
Councilman Michael Jackson has been pushing the Sayegh administration to conduct a “discounted” tax lien sale.
Currently, the large property at 6-34 Piercy Street, is assessed at $2.1 million. As of March 2019, the city owned $2.4 million in liens on the property, in excess of the property’s value. Minimum bid on the owed liens would be $100,000. Whomever purchases the discounted liens would be able to foreclose and take ownership of the massive property.
“This property has been an eyesore and vacant for well over 30 years,” said Jackson last Tuesday. “This section of the 1st Ward definitely needs some attention. We have a partnership that we’ve engaged, where we’re looking to do some phenomenal things in that area,” said Jackson.
Business administrator Kathleen Long told the City Council taxpayers will not realize the greatest possible return through the discounted lien sale.
“Our preferred option is to wait until we’re able to foreclose,” said business administrator Kathleen Long. Then the city would hire a firm to determine the cost of cleaning up the contamination at the site, she said. “And then being able to auction the property so that the city benefits from the greatest possible revenue.”
Council president Flavio Rivera urged the administration to present a plan to the City Council. He had made a similar request weeks ago that led to economic development director Michael Powell providing several options in a memo.
Privately some of Jackson’s colleagues raised concerns about the discounted tax lien sale, suspecting it may be ploy to cheaply hand over the massive property to a developer close to Jackson.
The former Galaxie Chemical Corporation has had multiple fires over the past years. In 2018, the federal government sought a warrant to enter the building to mitigate the hazardous conditions inside the structure.
Council members will vote on Tuesday night on whether to conduct a discounted tax lien sale.
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