First bid for former federal building in Cape comes in at $25,000

Thursday, May 26, 2011
The Federal Building in Cape Girardeau (Fred Lynch)

The first official offer to buy the former Cape Girardeau federal building has come in a little light. In fact, at $25,000, it's about $725,000 less than the seller's suggested starting point.

The most publicly interested suitor, the Cape Girardeau County Commission, would neither confirm nor deny Wednesday that it was behind the bid.

The General Services Administration, which manages and sells all federally owned property, confirmed that it has received only one bid since the building at 339 Broadway went up for sale at online auction, said spokeswoman Angela Brees.

But Brees said the bidder -- whoever it is -- shouldn't think they'll get the two-story, 47,867-square-foot building for a steal.

"That's the minimum bid accepted," Brees said. "It would not feasibly sell for that. That's just a beginning. The GSA will evaluate the highest bid and determine if that's acceptable or not."

But the online auction at gsa.gov is "strictly confidential," she said, and GSA policy dictates that they don't even divulge whether offers come from private citizens or government entities. The $25,000 bid was made Friday, a week after the online auction began. No closing date has been set for the auction, Brees said, though they typically last several weeks.

Commissioner Jay Purcell offered no comment, declining even to say that it was not the commission that made the offer.

The Rev. Larry Rice said last week that he was no longer interested in buying the 44-year-old building to convert it into a homeless shelter.

But the commission has made several offers to buy the building during the GSA's "disposal process," which gave first dibs to governmental bodies at a negotiated price. The last offer came about three weeks ago, which Purcell said "was sizable."

The county commission and the Cape Girardeau City Council have been talking for months about a partnership to buy the building. The discussions revolved around using the building as a new Cape Girardeau City Hall, as well as a space to relocate some county offices from the antebellum Common Pleas Courthouse.

The building can be bought by anyone, Brees said, with the only stipulation being that its use has to be in compliance with zoning ordinances, in this case as commercial or office space. Officials with the city and the county have said they will monitor the online bidding process and determine at some point whether they want to make a bid.

Staff writer Rebecca Rolwing contributed to this report.

smoyers@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent Address:

339 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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