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Upset bids submitted for NoDa mills

A bidding war for two historic mills in Charlotte’s North Davidson Street area is now in its second round after three companies submitted upset bids Monday.

Last week, The Community Builders Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based affordable-housing developer, put in a winning bid of $610,000 for the Johnston and Mecklenburg Mills. It was one of four companies that originally bid on the mills.

The other three companies made counteroffers of at least $671,000 by Monday’s deadline to upset TCB’s bid, meeting the minimum 10 percent increase required by the city’s bidding process, said Peter Zeiler, Charlotte’s transit station area development coordinator.

Merrifield Patrick Vermillion submitted the highest upset bid at $925,000, while Ark Management, developers of the N.C. Music Factory, offered $671,000 and M&J LLC submitted $672,000, Zeiler said.

The four companies have until 4 p.m. March 3 to submit additional upset bids. The new minimum required is $1,017,500.

Zeiler said the process will continue until the county gets a final, highest offer.

“It just keeps going until we reach what the market says the price is,” he said. “It’s like an auction, but we give people 10 days to stop and really think if they’re ready to take this on. You don’t want to have people pressured to bow out early or overbid because of a clock.”

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

Zeiler said it’s unlikely that construction at the mills will start this year. Once the final bid is awarded, the winning company has to develop architectural plans and submit for permits.

The two vacant brick mills were built in the late 1800s during the heyday of the textile industry. They shut down in the early to mid-1970s and 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. The city put the two mills up for sale last month, with the goal of developing a mixed-use project with at least 20 percent of the residential units dedicated to low-income families, Zeiler said.

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

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