It’s an about-face for Adamstown

By on July 9, 2014

Officials reconsider and vote to sell controversial property

Adamstown borough officials have reversed their position on the sole bid for the controversial inter-municipally owned 1975 N. Reading Road property and voted 6-to-0 to accept the bid.

The July 1 vote contradicted the officials’ actions at a joint meeting on June 24 when they, along with representatives from West Cocalico Township and Denver borough, rejected the sole bid of $1.7 million for the 20-plus acre property and its 45,000-square-foot warehouse. East Cocalico Township officials did not take action until July 2 when they voted to accept the bid.

Adamstown officials’ vote reversal occurred following a presentation to the council at its July 1 meeting by Steve Rapp, a co-owner of DenTech Inc., Brownstown, the sole bidder.

“I’m coming to the different townships and here basically to ask Adamstown borough to really consider our offer for what it will do for the community,” said Steven Rapp, co-owner of DenTech Inc. “I can’t promise that we’re going to generate tax revenue to Adamstown because we’re going to be in East Cocalico.”

Rapp suggested job openings for Adamstown residents was a good possibility.

“It’s a big loss,” said Rapp, regarding the offer. “It’s tough to take, I understand, but I think by holding on to it the building is just going to get worse and will cost the township a lot of money.”

Rapp put a surprise present was put on the table: DenTech would donate 7.6 acres of the property to the municipalities without changing the current offer. The acreage goes back to Reamstown Road. Using it for a park was suggested.

“I would recommend we attempt to sell the 7.6 acres and minimize the loss for the other municipalities,” said President Randy Good.

The building has been appraised at $2.49 million but most that have looked at it, including bankers, say it not worth that much especially after reevaluating it.

“You need to get down to Adamstown borough,” said Good. “You want to look at our numbers. If we sell it, we’ll have to write a check for $78,000 more than likely, 6 percent of a $1.3-million dollar loss.”

“A year from today if the building sells for $2 million, you really have to have $2,070,000 to equal a $1.7 million offer. There’s a lot of work there,” said Good.

The property is jointly owned by Adamstown and Denver boroughs along with West Cocalico and East Cocalico townships. It was bought for $3.74 million in 2006 with the intent of turning it to a community recreation center. Its most recent appraisal in December 2013 was $2.49 million. East Cocalico has the most to lose with a 46 percent share of ownership while Adamstown’s share is just 6 percent.

With the votes by East Cocalico and Adamstown together accounting for 52 percent share of the ownership, to accept the bid, it is likely the property will be sold to DenTech.

Rapp pointed out additional problems should the municipalities decide to hold on to the building and attempt another sale. These issues include mold and mildew growth, questionable foundation, a needed roof replacement along with other major repairs, real estate commissions, debt payments, and ongoing maintenance costs.

DenTech designs industrial equipment from air filtration and material handling systems to work holding fixtures and custom industrial machinery. It does in-house fabrication, welding, sheet metal, electrical and custom machining. It site tests, installs and services equipment.

Michele Walter Fry welcomes your comments at michelewalterfry@gmail.com

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