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The Riverside City Council is moving ahead with plans to sell its main street Community Building to John Sojka for $33,400.
The council set a public hearing for Nov. 6 at 6:30 p.m.
Those interested in commenting on the project can come to the public hearing or submit comments to Riverside City Clerk Lory Young at P.O. Box 188, Riverside, IA 52327.
Prior to setting the public hearing, the council discussed comparable buildings that sold in the downtown area in recent years.
A building at 11 E. First St. sold for $61,000 or $22.54 per square foot.
A building at 31 E. First St. sold for $45,000 or $20.32 per square foot.
Both of those buildings were built in 1890. The Community Building was built in 1900.
At the $33,400 price, the Community Building would sell for $19.63 per square foot.
A previous assessed value was much higher, said Mayor Allen Schneider.
“A previous assessed value was in the $60,000 range,” Schneider said. “The guidance from the attorney was we need to get fair market value for the building.”
Council members said the $60,000 value was out of line, and they were comfortable with the earlier agreed price because of the improvements Sojka said he would make to the building.
“I wanted to make sure everyone was comfortable with that value before we moved ahead,” Schneider said.
Council member Tom Sexton said that if residents disagreed with the price they could voice their opposition at the public hearing. The council could change the price after the public hearing.
The Community Building previously was the site of the Senior Dining program but is now rented out for meetings.
Sojka repeated his plans to make major renovations to the building if he buys it.
“My intent is to put more money into that building,” he told the council, adding that he is planning an overall investment of $80,000 to $100,000.
He said he plans to add on to the north side of the building and plans a youth coffeehouse in addition to a regular “adult” coffeehouse in the building.
One of his first projects will be refurbishing the façade of the building.
“I’d like to do that before winter if that is at all possible,” he said.