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NoDa mills bidding war goes into round 6

The Community Builders Inc. submitted another upset bid Thursday for two historic NoDa mills that are to be developed into a residential project, part of which will include affordable housing.

The upset bid of $1.24 million is more than double what Community Builders, a Washington, D.C.-based affordable-housing developer, originally bid for the mills in February, which kicked off a bidding war between it and three other companies.

It also bested the $1.12 million upset bid that Charlotte-based Merrifield Patrick Vermillion submitted March 14.

Each winning upset bid kicks off another 10-day period, during which competing companies can make a counteroffer. To be considered, upset bids have to be at least 10 percent more than the previous winning bid, said Peter Zeiler, Charlotte’s transit station area development coordinator.

Rob Fossi, Community Builders’ vice president and regional director for the mid-Atlantic, said the company’s plans including building within the two mills work force housing for middle-income families. Fossi said his company plans to develop the site in partnership with neighborhood and city officials.

Ark Management and M&J are the other two companies involved in the bidding war.

Zeiler said that at this point only the four companies involved in the bidding process can continue to make offers. During prebidding, the companies paid a 5 percent deposit of their initial bid and submitted qualifying documentation.

The two massive, vacant brick buildings were built in the late 1800s during the heyday of the textile industry. After the mills shut down in the early to mid-1970s, they were converted to affordable housing in the early 1990s, but the project went bankrupt in 2006, Zeiler said. Another effort to turn the mills into a mixed-use development including low-income housing fizzled in 2008.

Zeiler said the bidding process will continue until the county gets the highest offer.

High bids for the project over the course of the bidding battle:

• Feb, 11: $610,000, Community Builders

• Feb. 21: $925,000, Merrifield Patrick Vermillion

• March 3: $1.02 million, Community Builders

• March 14: $1.12 million, Merrifield Patrick Vermillion

• Thursday: $1.24 million, Community Builders

Sam Boykin can be reached at sam.boykin@mecktimes.com.

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