A Franklin city board is looking to sell a vacant downtown building, with the hope a new business will move in.
The former G.C. Murphy building, at 56 E. Jefferson St., has been owned by three government agencies in recent years.
Now, the Franklin Redevelopment Commission, which has owned the building since last year, is looking to sell.
The 23,000-square-foot building most recently was an antiques store but has been vacant since it was purchased by the county in 2009. Originally, the building was going to be used as a new home for county offices after the Oren Wright building was destroyed in the 2008 flood.
But the following year, the county gave the building to the city of Franklin as part of a land swap deal that gave the county the former Franklin Police Department building. And last year, the city gave the building to the redevelopment commission, in exchange for the city board helping fund the city’s road construction project on Main Street.
Now, the redevelopment commission plans to seek two appraisals of the building to get an idea of how much it should ask from a buyer. A 2009 appraisal listed the value of the building at $420,000, but board member Bob Heuchan doubts the property will sell for that much.
Members of the redevelopment commission said they have heard from buyers who are interested in the building, which was built in the 1920s; and they want to start the process of a sale.
The Franklin Development Corp., a city-created agency that focuses on fixing up homes and business buildings mainly around downtown, at one time had discussed acquiring the building.
The agency board has no plans to buy the building right now but would love to see it be redeveloped, said Craig Wells, president and chief executive officer of the agency.
If a buyer asks the agency for help with redeveloping the former dime store, such as through loan or grant programs, they would also consider that, Wells said.
Before the building can be sold, the city board has to develop a request for proposals from developers or investors who plan to buy it.
That request would include the average of the two appraisals and other requirements by the city board.
The redevelopment commission has not finalized that request, but a rough draft allows the city board to reject any purchase offer based on buyer’s experience, plans for the property and whether those plans preserve the building’s historical and architectural significance.
Members of the commission approved hiring two appraisers to value the property so the request for proposals can be finalized.