McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

January 16, 2014

Council passes on offer to buy back city land

By James Beaty
Senior Editor

McALESTER — McAlester city councilors had a few questions, but in the end they unanimously agreed not to pursue an option they had to buy back a 1.2 acre tract of land at the site of the former Southside Industrial Park.

City councilors made the decision during the regular Tuesday night council meeting, held in the council chambers at City Hall.

The land in question ,at 3101 Elks Road, currently houses U.S. Department of Agriculture  offices in McAlester.

Councilors had the contractual right to pursue an option of first refusal after the current owner, A.R. M. Inc., announced a plan to sell the property to a third party.

The city had sold the land in question to A.R. M. Inc., in 2011, with Carl Voss listed as the company president. Following the sale, buildings that currently house the USDA officer were constructed on the property.

Voss offered to sell the 1.2 acre tract, along with the improvements, back to the city for the “appraised value” of $1,475,000, according to city documents.

During a discussion of the matter Tuesday night, Mayor Harrison said he recalled the reason for including the buyback option in the 2011 contract had been in case there had been no construction on the property and the land had remained dormant.

City Attorney Joe Ervin added that in previous cases, the city had conveyed property to others, who then sold it —which he cited as another reason for the clause.

Following the discussion, city councilors issued the unanimous vote not to exercise the option to repurchase the land.

As Voss left the meeting, the News-Capital asked him if his plans for the property meant the USDA offices would have to relocate.

He said he has no plans to ask the USDA to move.

“I’m not selling the buildings,” Voss said.

He said the matter simply involved bringing a longtime friend in as a partner.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.