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Palm Coast Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2020 2 months ago

County to sell mold-ridden Sears building for use as a dance studio

The county will indemnify the real estate agent involved in the sale of the building to the county, but may pursue litigation against other parties.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

When Flagler County staff in May 2019 found water streaming down the interior walls of a building the county had bought to use as a new branch location for the Sheriff's Office — which had been displaced from its own Operations Center because of mold there — the county threatened litigation against the real estate agent agent and the inspector involved in the sale, as well as the building's former owners.

Now, it's preparing to sell the building, formerly a Sears location on Palm Coast Parkway, as-is for $1 million and indemnify the real estate agent, Margaret Sheehan-Jones, who'd brokered the building's sale to the county. 

The building would be purchased through Sheehan-Jones by Braham Logan Crane, director of the Artists Simply Human dance company. Crane plans to convert the building into another dance studio with his wife, Brie Valenti-Crane, who operates the Mia Bella Academy of Dance in Palm Coast.

"The county also has examined the background of the proposed purchaser and is pleased that he is intending to create a dance studio," a county staff document states about the potential sale. "The county expects this will be a value added business on Palm Coast Parkway West."

The sale would still leave Flagler County with about $250,000 in remaining expenses associated with the building, which the county will pursue from the other parties, officials decided at an April 20 County Commission meeting.

In November 2019, County Attorney Al Hadeed told commissioners during the meeting, the county had given all parties involved the opportunity, individually or collectively, to take back the property and reimburse the county. Sheehan-Jones was the only one who came forward with proposals. 

"We’ll be looking at the other parties, either for them to settle and make us whole, or we will have litigation against one or both," Hadeed said. But, he added, "This is substantial progress; it does help us in some ways as far as cash flow."

Commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the sale, along with a directive to the county administration to pursue other measures against the remaining parties, up to and including litigation.


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