INDEPENDENCE — Independence Station, old city hall and a few other buildings previously owned by Independence Venture LLC were sold in a trustee sale for $1,500,000 on Nov. 27 to Kirkland Acquisitions LLC.
Developer Charles Sides is listed as the registered agent of Independence Venture LLC; several liens had been placed on the property.
A prospective new owner has been talking with Independence city staff about the buildings since July.
“We are under contract, currently in due diligence for several properties including Independence Station and the former City Hall building,” said Kelly McDonald in a Dec. 9 email. “That’s really all we can say at this time.”
McDonald is a developer who operates GoMacGo with partner Patrick Carney.
Carney spoke to Independence City Councilors at their Nov. 26 meeting.
“Our primary business is buying stagnant real estate projects that have languished for one reason or another and redevelop them into successful projects,” Carney said.
He gave councilors a handout with information about a few of their recent projects: the Granary District in McMinnville, the Rivers condominiums in Salem, and the Nordstrom building in downtown Salem.
“What brings me here today is we’re in contract to buy the old city hall, and what we refer to as the concrete building, the two houses next to it and then another commercial building,” Carney said. “If everything goes as expected, we should close in mid-December. We look forward to working with the city to make these all functional, positive properties contributing to the improvement of the downtown.”
Their first priority would be getting Parallel 45, which is housed in the old city hall building, 240 Monmouth St., open to the public.
According to city emails obtained by the Itemizer-Observer through a public records request, the sidewalk was accidentally demolished by contractors hired by the previous owners in September of 2018.
“We’re confident the brewery will be a great member of the current thriving downtown, even though they’ve been stymied by the current situation that’s among us,” Carney said. “We’ve done some research into the streetscape and understand that it’s tore up and needs repair in some fashion. We would love to be part of that long-term fix.”
Mayor John McArdle thanked Carney for coming to the meeting and said he knows that he is “working closely with our development staff and our city manager. We’re glad to hear that you’re under contract. We are all very hopeful of moving all those projects forward for so many reasons.”
Emails obtained by the Itemizer-Observer through a public records request show that McDonald has been in contact with city staff since July 1, 2019.
McDonald emailed Shawn Irvine, economic development director, to ask if the $300,000 worth of incentives offered Sides could be transferred to them if they purchased the properties.
“Our goal for the old city hall was to get it renovated with a destination commercial space open to the public,” Irvine responded. “As you know, we have an agreement with Chuck (Sides), so we are hesitant to get into serious negotiations while the current agreement is in place unless Chuck says it’s OK.”
Irvine offered to get together in person “and talk through the situation.”
The next email communications were in October and included a copy of the agreement the city had with Sides, which is public record.
In November, Carney emailed Irvine that they were “in contract” and asked to get on the schedule to introduce themselves to city councilors.
Irvine said they should be able to, but thought it would be helpful to sit down with him and city manager Tom Pessemier beforehand.
Carney told the Itemizer-Observer on Monday, he would provide updates on the project as soon as possible, hopefully in the next week.