After to sell the borough-owned former Wachovia Bank building, the Hatboro Borough Council on Monday voted to approve its $500,000 sale.
’ offer was $50,000 less than the borough had requested and roughly $300,000 shy of the borough’s original $800,000 purchase price in 2009, according to Councilman John Zygmont.
Yet, Zygmont contends the borough "really broke about even."
"We divided the parcel in two and retained a municpal lot," Zygmont said. "The appraised value of the lot when we bought was $400,000."
Zygmont, who serves on Hatboro Federals’ board, recused himself from voting on Monday and said he’s also recused himself at the bank as well.
“The good thing is it’s going to be going back on the tax rolls,” Zygmont said after the meeting. He said when the building was functional as a Wachovia Bank branch it generated a combined $25,000 in school and local taxes.
On Tuesday morning Hatboro Federal's President and CEO Joseph J. Tryon, Jr. said the bank planned to move its administration offices, as well as its boardroom to the former Wachovia Bank building. In addition, some of the people working in the branch on York Road - one of four Hatboro Federal locations - would be relocated there, he said.
Tryon said the transition is expected to occur in the next six to eight months, following construction.
"The facility is not inhabitable at the present time," Tryon said, noting that painting, papering, interior maintenance and a general cleanup were needed.
The intent is to "keep the appearance" of the former Wachovia Bank, Tryon said, adding that Hatboro Federal is "noted for the attractive buildings we have."
"We, as Hatboro Federal, we’re growing and we’re getting stronger and stronger every day," Tryon said. "We certainly wish to make our presence in Hatboro."
When asked if the revenue from the real estate sale could help plug a projected Zygmont said the Hatboro Borough Authority - the entity tasked with overseeing the $5 million generated from the sale of the borough’s water company - wanted its money back. Zygmont said the authority chipped in $400,000, along with a $360,000 county grant, to aid in the borough’s purchase of the shuttered bank.
The realtor’s 6 percent commission – totaling $30,000 – is to be subtracted from the $500,000 purchase price, Council President Marianne Reymer said, meaning the borough will realize a return of $470,000 for a property and 150-space parking lot it had bought for $800,000. The borough will retain 100 parking spaces and the remaining 50 to 60 will become property of Hatboro Federal.
Hatboro’s attorney, Mike Savona, said Hatboro Federal expects to settle on the property on or before Dec. 16. As part of the agreement the council approved, Hatboro Federal would pay a 1 percent transfer tax; would accept that the building is being sold “as is” and would come with no warranties; and would update the contract to reflect the proper tax identification number, according to Savona.
“Fantastic idea,” resident Ron Battis said. “Let’s get rid of it.”
Councilwoman Aleta Ostrander seemed to disagree in that she abstained from voting.
“I do not feel comfortable with this transaction,” Ostrander said.