Arts Council buys Centennial Station

Nov. 08, 2012 @ 05:41 PM

 It’s official.

Leaders of the High Point Area Arts Council late Tuesday afternoon signed final papers to purchase Centennial Station at 121 S. Centennial St.

The purchase marks the first time in its 50-year history that the Arts Council has owned its own facility, and it’s the culmination of a long-held dream.

“It’s a great day for the arts and a great day for High Point,” said attorney Jim Morgan, chairman of the Arts Council board who negotiated the purchase.

The Arts Council purchased the building for $860,000 from Capital Bank in Winston-Salem, which recently merged with Southern Community Bank and Trust, which held the deed after foreclosing on the property when former owner Wayne McDonald defaulted on his loan.

The closing originally was scheduled for Nov. 1, but Arts Council leaders negotiated an extension through the end of the business day Tuesday in order to be sure donors are on board. The deed was recorded officially at 4:53 p.m. Tuesday, following weeks of hectic footwork, Morgan said.

The Arts Council has two loans through High Point Bank. One, for $731,000, is a mortgage on the property, with payment terms of interest plus $50,000 for each of three years. The other is a line of credit for $250,000, for one year and interest payments.

“My goal is to have it paid off quickly through fundraising, but I wanted to be sure we could live up to the agreement with the bank,” Morgan said.

He already has firm commitments for $125,000 and has made additional requests for enough to pay off the loan.

“I think they’re reasonable asks, ... but I don’t ever count anything until I have it in hand. But I’m optimistic,” Morgan said. High Point Community Foundation also has agreed to financial support.

The goal is to raise $1.5 million and to place $500,000 of that with the Community Foundation to be used for building maintenance in the future, Morgan said. He is adamant that donations will go directly to paying off the loans. The Arts Council will pay interest.

The Arts Council plans to move into Centennial Station by the end of this month, said Debbie Lumpkins, executive director. It has been renting the facility since Aug. 1.