County puts land, building up for sale

Published 9:30 am Thursday, December 8, 2016

A 12-acre tract of county-owned land off U.S. 61 South once used in an economic development project in the 1960s is up for sale.

The Board of Supervisors Monday approved a resolution declaring the land known as the “Magnolia Road property” surplus and authorizing board president Richard George to offer the property for sale by competitive bid. George said an ad for the sale is being prepared by county employees.

The land is located on Magnolia Road, which runs west off U.S. 61 South, and contains three large metal warehouse-type buildings.

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“We have no use for it,” county administrator John Smith said. “We don’t have need for it; we want to sell it and get it back on the tax rolls, back into use.”

George said the county acquired the land in the mid-1960s as part of an economic development program to allow F.L. Cappaert to expand his Magnolia Mobile Homes business. The land and buildings, he said, were where the company was going to build its larger mobile homes.

“Back then the economic tool was called a BAWI bond issue,” he said. “It was the standard for businesses to take advantage of low interest bonds. Cappaert bought the property and gave it to the county.”

Because Cappaert was going to lease the land from the county, George said, he became eligible for the low interest bonds because he was going to be on public property.

“He would lease property for so many years with an option to buy it back if he chose, or lease terminate,” he said. “The bond money built those buildings.”

The land was later subleased to another person, who then sold their lease interest to someone else, George said. When that individual did not keep the lease up, it terminated and the land returned to the county.

“It’s ours to do something with it, and the best thing we can do is dispose of it,” he said.

The buildings are in good shape, but they need some repair and maintenance. The person who had the lease did not maintain it (the site) at all. It is a quite usable site; it just needs some care.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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