WEST FARGO —The sale of five houses along Sheyenne Street to the city for a project that would raze the homes and later sell the land as an economic development incentive has stalled.
City Administrator Tina Fisk said Economic Development Director Lauren Orchard met with the five homeowners in the 500 block of Sheyenne Street, but not all would agree to the city's proposal to buy each house at its appraised value.
"They could not come to an agreement — all five — to accept the agreements as presented," Fisk said at the City Commission's Monday, April 19, meeting. "Based on your motion, that is considered a done topic. We've moved on from that."
Initially, the five homeowners had approached the city together and agreed all homes would be sold for $200,000 per home plus $30,000 in relocation costs for each home. In addition to the purchase price, clearing the land and other costs put the city at an all-in price of $1.45 million, Orchard said.
In previous meetings, commissioners said the homes had previously been on the private market for different amounts, ranging from about $150,000 to $185,000.
The commission initially approved the purchase of five homes in December for a total of $1.15 million, or $200,000 plus $30,000 in relocation costs for each homeowner. But after hearing from residents who were concerned the process has not been transparent enough and the purchase price may have been too high, among other concerns, Commissioner Mandy George made a motion in late January that would have effectively stopped the process of the project. However, her motion failed after a lack of support.
On April 5, the commission entered into executive session and returned with a vote that directed staff to offer appraisal values for each home and required all five homeowners to agree to the sale for it to move forward.
Last week, one of the property owners told the West Fargo Pioneer a deal would not be moving forward and the city had "lowballed us."