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North Arkansas College has accepted the high bid from a former Harrison mayor to buy the school's downtown Harrison campus.

The bids, which were opened Tuesday, ranged from $40,000 to $712,500, with former Mayor Jeff Crockett offering the highest bid.

The decision to accept Crockett's bid was made during a special meeting Thursday of the college's board of trustees, according to a news release.

"We're glad Mr. Crockett is investing so significantly in Harrison," Northark President Randy Esters told the board.

Crockett said the meeting lasted about 35 minutes. He said the board explained each bid before voting unanimously to accept his.

Crockett said the sale probably won't be final until early September, pending Legislative Council approval Aug. 23.

North Arkansas College had been trying to sell the mold-infested, five-story office tower on its center campus since June. Estimates for the mold remediation and repairs ranged from $4 million to $10 million.

The college put an adjacent conference center called the Durand Center up for sale along with the tower. The two buildings and connecting atrium are on a 2.6-acre site at 303 N. Main St. It's known as Northark's Center Campus.

Crockett plans to remove the mold in the Tower Building and lease the building to tenants, with retail and offices on the ground floor and "executive offices" on the top floors. Crockett said he would continue to operate the Durand Center as an event and conference center.

The city of Harrison bid $70,000 with the stipulation that the college pay for demolishing the Tower Building.

Current Harrison Mayor Jerry Jackson said they wanted to use the Durand Center as City Hall.

Powermax Investments LLC of Springfield, Mo., made two offers -- $180,000 for the entire property or $40,000 to "take over the entire property and lease the Durand Center offices to the city for $1 a year and rehab the tower section."

Founded in 1974, North Arkansas College is a public two-year school with three campuses in Harrison and a Carroll County center in Berryville.

The college bought the Tower Building and adjacent Durand Center in 2005 for an estimated $1.2 million, according to Boone County real estate records. Jackson, who is a real estate agent, said the college probably spent $4 million renovating the two buildings.

Crockett said he owns about 70 commercial properties in Harrison, including several strip centers and free-standing restaurants. He also owns some houses, apartments and about 30 billboards.

Metro on 06/29/2019

Print Headline: College's trustees OK bid by ex-mayor in north Arkansas

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