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Bidding war for NoDa mills rages on

Eligible bidders for two historic NoDa Mills have until March 24 to come up with at least $1.24 million to stay in the running.

The bidding war is now in round four since Merrifield Patrick Vermillion submitted an upset bid of $1.12 million today, beating out the previous upset bid by The Community Builders Inc. of $1.02 million, said Peter Zeiler, Charlotte’s transit station area development coordinator.

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

Community Builders submitted the original highest bid of $610,000 for the Johnston and Mecklenburg Mills, which are just north of uptown, when the city put them up for sale in February. At least 20 percent of the residential units in the project will be set aside for low-income families, Zeiler said.

Ark Management and M&J are the other two companies involved in the bidding war. Monte Ritchey, a partner at M&J, said company officials are still undecided about whether or not they’ll submit an upset bid by next week’s deadline.

Ark Management did not return calls.

The two massive, vacant brick buildings in NoDa 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.

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

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