Dix Park: One step closer with Perdue boost

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The Dix Visionaries plan
  • The Dix Visionaries plan

Gov. Bev Perdue has commissioned an appraisal of the 306-acre Dorothea Dix Hospital tract. It's said to be worth $60 million in the current real estate market, more ($86 million) if the seller is patient. An appraisal is an integral step to make the vision of Dix Park a reality some day, Perdue said.

(Update: If you've never seen the Dix tract, or if you've seen it only from a distance, here's a breakdown of what's there and what the possibilities are from our story in 2006.)

(I'll add that it's time for Raleigh — the city — and Dix Park advocates to put an offer on the table ... and not that $10 million offer that Charles Meeker made awhile ago when he was mayor. I've heard talk in City Hall of a $50 million offer, but $50 million paid at a rate of $1 million a year, which in terms of present value ain't that much. The mental health advocates are right that the Dix tract — originally more than 2,000 acres — was dedicated land for the purpose of helping people with mental illnesses. Some serious money contributed for that purpose is needed to seal this deal and make the Dix dream come true.)

Here's Perdue's statement:

RALEIGH — Gov. Bev Perdue announced today that an appraisal has been received for the Dorothea Dix campus, which has a current estimated value of $60 million and an estimated market value of $86 million. She has directed the N.C. Department of Administration (DOA) to draft a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a tenant representative to assist the State Property Office in eventually moving the 1,300 employees at Dix to cost-effective office space.

This is an integral step toward ultimately converting the Dix campus into a public park.

The proposals will also include possible consolidation of facilities for all N.C. Department of Health and Human Services employees.

“The process will take considerable time to complete, but this is an important step in turning this beautiful downtown property into a public park for the enjoyment of all North Carolinians,” Gov. Perdue said. “Taking a comprehensive look at DHHS’s current and long-term space needs will help us to transition to combined facilities that will help the department more efficiently serve the people of the state.”

The appraisal, conducted by Worthy & Wachtel, Inc., was transmitted today to DOA and may be reviewed online. It states that the 319-acre property’s prospective value, based on a fully rebounded market, is $86 million. Its current market value is $60 million. The values are predicated on the assumption that there are no hazardous materials present on the site that would require a major clean-up.

The State Property Office will begin drafting the RFP immediately with the goal of having it posted by February 24, 2012.

Gov. Perdue emphasized the importance of remembering the original role of the Dix campus in aiding mental health patients, and she reiterated the importance of sustaining the Mental Health Trust Fund.

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