For Sale: One Old Firehouse in North Carolina

July 29, 2013
Carts from the 1890s that held fire hoses and ladders still sit in the bays at the old Pinehurst firehouse.

July 29--PINEHURST -- A 97-year-old building up for sale in Pinehurst has everything you'd expect in a former firehouse -- except the sliding pole.

The front of the building has two classic overhead doors where fire equipment was kept at the ready. Carts from the 1890s that held fire hoses and ladders still sit in the bays.

After receiving calls from potential buyers, the Village Council is now seeking bids for the building known as old Fire Station 91 on Community Road.

The price tag? At least $350,000.

Since it was built in 1916, it has been more than a fire station. It served as a community gathering place in Pinehurst's early days, said Fire Chief Carlton Cole.

It became a firehouse in 1930, he said, and was the fire department's home until 2006 when it relocated next to Village Hall on Magnolia Road.

An addition built in 1977 for larger firetrucks is now leased by a resident who has turned it into a skate park for his kids.

"There's a lot of history in this old building," Cole said.

Before it was converted to a firehouse, the structure was rotated so its side faced the front. Doing so required putting large poles under it and using mules to pull it around, he said.

In its early days, the fire chief and his family lived in an apartment in the firehouse. After he activated an alarm that would sound blasts, notifying firefighters of the fire's location, he picked up the firefighters and took them there.

The village's firefighters signed personal notes to secure payments for an expansion in 1977.

Assistant Village Manager Natalie Dean said she had been receiving calls of interest about the property about once a week and was showing it to a prospective buyer about every other week.

Since the council voted unanimously on Tuesday to put the building up for sale, she had received four new queries and had shown the building twice. The building has 2,948 square feet of heated space, 2,275 unheated square feet and 2,800 square feet of vehicle bays.

Dean said about 90 percent of the people who call about the building are interested in using it for a restaurant. The building is zoned "village mixed use," so commercial, office or residential use is permitted, she said.

"A broad range of uses is permitted under that zoning," she said. "You can do just about anything with it."

Village Manager Andy Wilkison said the building was appraised at about $400,000 several years ago.

The council decided Tuesday not to take less than $350,000 for the building, but could decide to change the minimum bid later.

"I don't think you're going to get that for it," Councilman Mark Parson said at the council work session Tuesday.

Parson said two local businessmen told him the building was worth no more than $250,000.

Bids will be accepted until Aug. 30 at 3 p.m. Bidders must provide a deposit equal to 5 percent of their bid.

"Hopefully, they'll preserve some of the history of the building and do something useful with it," Cole said.

Staff writer Steve DeVane can be reached at [email protected] or 910-486-3572.

Copyright 2013 - The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.

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