Update 31 December 2009:
Charlottesville Tomorrow reports that the purchase price was $9.8 million dollars. If nothing else, this transaction proves that government does have the ability to move expediently and efficiently. Read the whole story.
There will be much more to come on this story in the coming days and weeks.
Asked about the financial impact on investors who paid a reported $46.2 million for the land in 2005, Payne said â€œthe investors will not come out whole and no one is getting a windfall.â€
According to the deed records, Craig intends to pursue Virginia Land Preservation Tax Credits and federal charitable deductions. The state credits are an incentive for property owners to permanently protect undeveloped land and are available for 40 percent of the appraised value of the property. The property is currently assessed by Albemarle County at almost $44 million.
â€œThis is what is known legally as a â€˜bargain sale,’ when there is a reduced cash payment and the seller applies for tax credits,â€ said Bryant in an interview. â€œWe have determined that this project is eligible for land preservation tax credits. The seller will have to apply in the 2010 calendar year and it will be up to the state Department of Taxation to act on their application.â€
The amount of those tax credits has not yet been determined, according to Bryant, and will be a matter for Craig to resolve with the department of taxation.
Since this story was first reported by The Daily Progress and Charlottesville Tomorrow earlier this month, Albemarle County officials have also expressed concerns about the loss of a quality neighborhood project and the loss of proffers that would help build community infrastructure.
The 800 developable acres, and 400 acres originally proposed for a county park, are between Route 20 and Old Lynchburg Road south of Charlottesville, in one of the county’s designated growth areas. Urban development is only permitted in about 5 percent of the county’s land.
â€œThe county has not been involved in the recent Biscuit Run transaction and did not have any authority or ability to influence the decision one way or another,â€ said County Executive Robert W. Tucker Jr. â€œWe will work cooperatively with state officials to create the most positive possible outcome for the community and to realize the maximum benefits of the park, which include protected land for our residents and a boost to our tourism industry.â€
With no mention of the purchase price …
RICHMOND â€“ Governor Timothy M. Kaine today announced the purchase of approximately 1,200 acres in Albemarle County known as “Biscuit Run” to be held by the state as a site for a future state park.
“When developed as a state park, this extraordinary piece of land will benefit the citizens of Albemarle, Charlottesville and the Commonwealth for recreation, natural resource protection and the preservation of open space in a fast growing area,” Governor Kaine said. “This property is a real jewel and I am very pleased to add it to the long list of properties preserved during my Administration.”
This purchase will add to the goal of 400,000 acres of open space preserved during Governor Kaine’s Administration.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the state to acquire such a valuable property which offers spectacular mountain views, abundant flora and fauna and is in the viewshed of Mr. Jefferson’s Monticello estate and farms,” said Secretary of Natural Resources L. Preston Bryant, Jr.
“The need for a state park in this region has been identified for more than 20 years in Virginia’s official Outdoors Plan,” said Joseph H. Maroon, director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, which operates 35 Virginia State Parks, none in the immediate Charlottesville area. “This purchase brings us closer to meeting the recreation and conservation needs of the region and the Commonwealth and will bring additional tourism and outdoor recreation dollars to the area.”
Funding for the purchase was provided by a combination of federal grants and existing state bond funds available through the Virginia Public Building Authority and the State Parks and Natural Areas bond, voted on by the public in 2002. The ability to apply for state land preservation tax credits allowed the sellers to offer the property to the state at a greatly reduced price.
The Daily Progress and Charlottesville Tomorrow have been carrying the freight on this story of late.
9 December – Biscuit Run may become a state park – Charlottesville Tomorrow
28 December – Windfall for Biscuit Run developer? Tax credits could become cash – Daily Progress
30 December – Biscuit Run is Almost a State Park – Daily Progress
The Breeden Family made $46.2 Million selling the parcel in 2005 to Hunter Craig. This was at the peak of the bubble–the smartest real estate transaction ever completed in this area, and one which allowed other land and home sellers to maintain champagne dreams for years.
Let’s see … they sold it for $46.2 million and it’s not going to be developed? Well played.
Update 31 December: Neil Williamson with the Free Enterprise Forum raises some important and valid points. We may be setting ourselves up for future failure by further restricting the growth areas in Albemarle County.