Owners having remorse over buying NoDa properties from city

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte city leaders finally sold two major eyesores, but the new owners are having buyer's remorse and taxpayers may end up paying for it.

City leaders spent years trying to sell Mecklenburg and Johnston Mills in the North Davidson area. They were finally sold to the Community Builders.

"I thought the city was done with it,” said city council member Pat Cannon.

TCB has been working on the site and finding problems it didn't expect.  Senior Development Manager Rosa Estrada gave a long list of examples, including "a lot of the wood has started to dry out and crack."

The mills are such a big part of NoDa, TCB thinks the city should help pay for the project.

"The redevelopment that will take place here will be a testament and a centerpiece in that neighborhood, we believe, long after I'm gone,” said Regional Director Rob Fossi.

TCB paid the city $1.2 million for the mills.

Now, it's asking taxpayers to pay the company nearly twice that back: $2.3 million.

City council's Michael Barnes said you don't get a do-over when you buy a house and TCB shouldn't either, and the company knew the history, it knew the risks and it's not the city's fault the company took a bad deal.

"They made a bad business decision and they're asking us to cover their mistake.  And I don't think we should do that,” Barnes said.

However, city leaders wanted someone to turn the buildings around.  If they don't help, they think this project will fail and NoDa will pay the biggest price.

The full city council will discuss this in about two weeks.

TCB needs an answer by Oct. 12 to take advantage of some tax credits.