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Fri, Jan. 24

Potential buyers for downtown Kingman property start to surface

KINGMAN - The Board of Supervisors made a final decision on the fate of the county's Arnold Plaza building on Oak Street - sell it.

County Administrator Mike Hendrix said the county has already received letters from two parties - Fleischmann AZ Investment Corp. of Kingman and Christian Distribution Centers - interested in purchasing or leasing the building. Staff is recommending the county have the building appraised to set a price and sell or lease it as is.

"I'm pleased to see staff thinking outside of the box," said District 2 Supervisor Hildy Angius.

The building has been empty since the county vacated it in 2005. The Mohave County Public Works Department stirred up a controversy over the building two years ago when it suggested spending more than $600,000 to demolish it and then requested $6 million for a new public works building.

Several county residents protested, saying the county should fix Arnold Plaza, lease it or sell it.

The building needs a lot of work and contains an unknown amount of asbestos. According to the Public Works Department it would cost the county approximately $200,000 to just replace the roof and nearly $1.9 million to renovate the building.

In March 2011, the Board decided to demolish it. But in January 2012 the county ran into a series of problems with the demolition contract.

A bidder on the project, H&H Development, complained that the first contractor, Lewis Equipment Services, didn't have the proper license to demolish the building. The contract was canceled, but the Board felt the second lowest contractor, H&H, did not have the experience to handle the project and pointed to issues the company had getting bonds to cover the projects in the past.

The Board was going to move on to the next lowest bidder, but it received a letter from an attorney for Lewis stating that the county had failed to notify bidders of the requirement for the special demo license. It also stated that Lewis had obtained the necessary license and if the county awarded the bid to another company, Lewis would sue.

At that point, the Board decided to throw out all of the bids and start over.

"I think this was divine intervention," Angius said.

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