City discusses fate of Purity Market building
It is back to the drawing board on the future of the old Purity Market building.
The city's tenant, Scotty D's Discount Grocery, closed last week after a year in business — leaving the building vacant, again.
Owner Scott Damon of Oroville apparently decided to close the store after learning Grocery Outlet and Dollar Tree are coming to Stony Creek Square this spring.
His store sold discounted groceries and opened to good reviews last April.
However, Damon ended the two-year lease a year early, so the city is without revenue from the building to pay back its loan to Orland's water fund.
City Manager Pete Carr said Monday he asked Police Chief J.C. Tolle to take another look at the building for use as a public safety facility.
The city originally purchased it for that purpose six years ago but did not have the funds to remodel it into a police station after the recession hit.
Carr said he wants Tolle to determine if it is feasible to use the front part of the building at 824 Fourth St. as a station.
If the condition of the building and the funding is not sufficient, "I will recommend to the council we look for another tenant," Carr said.
Tolle and his staff looked at using the back portion of the building last year, he said, and it was not adequate for police activities.
In the meantime, pay back on the loan is suspended, Carr said.
"We could pay back the whole loan if we had to," he said, from the city's $637,000 general fund reserve.
But it would be hard to give up that reserve, he said, especially since the city just built it up to an acceptible level.
The city owes about $476,000 on the building.
It borrowed the money from the water fund back in 2006 and had hoped to pay it back sooner, officials said.
Monday evening at the City Council meeting council members were philosophical about the store's closing.
"It's unfortunate they weren't able to sustain themselves," Councilman Bruce Roundy said. "I guess the profit margin was not big enough - especially with the new market (coming)."
However, Roundy said he favors re-renting the building for something else. "It helps the city pay back the loan and makes use of the building."
Councilwoman Salina Edwards added the city should try and rent it again in a month or two as some people have expressed interest in it.
But Edwards considers the building a "money pit," she said, and thinks if it cannot keep tenants the city should consider "unloading it."
"The best option is to find another tenant," Mayor Charles Gee said. "It is a city asset we have to do something with. We could not get anywhere close to what we purchased it."