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New offer, new round of bidding for Greensboro's Edgeworth Building

GREENSBORO — Local businessman Louis DeJoy has entered the bidding war for the Edgeworth Building, sparking another round of upset bidding that is scheduled to end later this month.

DeJoy’s LDJ Global Strategies entered a bid of just more than $2 million Friday, the last day of the third round of bidding on the government building at 232 N. Edgeworth St.

The multistory office building is 57 years old, but it is located in a part of Greensboro’s center city that has been under heavy development pressure in recent years.

Guilford County commissioners put the office building and its .7-acre tract on sale in early December after deciding it needed too much refurbishment to keep.

LDJ Global Strategies’ offer has triggered another 10-day cycle during which the sale is held in abeyance while the county awaits additional “upset” bids.

DeJoy had not been involved in the Edgeworth bidding until last week. The initial bid of $1.8 million came early last month from Samet Corp., a Greensboro real-estate and construction company.

In late December, Williams Development Group of Winston-Salem upped the ante with an upset offer of about $1.9 million, which set the stage for last Friday’s entry from LDJ Global Strategies.

DeJoy was chairman and the chief executive officer of High Point-based New Breed Logistics from 1983 to 2014, and later served as chief executive at XPO Logistics’ supply-chain business in North America.

He is now president of the LDJ firm, a real estate investment and consulting company.

Under terms of the upset process, new bidders must increase the current, proposed purchase price with an offer at least 5% higher.

The process of upset bidding for public property continues until a 10-day period has ended without a bid that tops the current high offer by at least 5%.

Bidders also must submit a deposit equal to at least 5% of the amount they bid. The county will refund that money to unsuccessful bidders.

The Edgeworth Building now houses about 100 employees of the county’s probation, parole and juvenile justice programs. Guilford officials would have to build or lease new office space for those programs or find room in buildings the county controls.

The county bought the Edgeworth Building from private owners in 1996 for just more than $1.8 million. The county tax office estimates its current value for tax purposes at about $2.8 million.

But as a tax-exempt public building, it does not currently generate property tax revenue — a situation that would change once the building returns to private ownership.

The Edgeworth Building is well situated, located just up the street from First National Bank Field and also near the Project Slugger office tower being built by local developer Front Street Capital.

The building also sits next to property that local developer Roy Carroll has tapped for his next downtown project.

And a new city parking deck is in the works on an adjoining lot.

Vandalia Elementary School students receive haircuts and wisdom

A corner of Vandalia Elementary School’s media center was transformed into a barbershop on Monday.

Free haircuts were offered as part of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen meeting for third-, fourth- and fifth-graders.

Sitting in the barber’s chair in the middle of the group, third-grader Kalani Love shyly confirmed to volunteer barber Joe Jarvis he would like a design shaved into the side of his fresh haircut.

Like most barber shops, the conversations were about much more than hairstyles.

“In the African American community, the barbershop is a steeple in the community as it relates to manhood.” said Blake Odum, the school’s youth development coordinator, who led the discussions. “I told them that some of the most interesting conversations I’ve had were at a barbershop.”

As the clippers buzzed, students talked about gentlemanly conduct.

Odum ask the kids what one thing could they do this week to show they are gentlemen.

“I can do my chores,” one boy said.

“I can take groceries in for a lady,” another chimed in.

“I can hold the door for someone.”

“I can take out the trash without being asked.”

“I just wanted to give the guys the experience of having constructive, important dialogue that guys typically have with each other and kind of recreate the setting of a barbershop for them here today,” Odum said.

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Budget override tops North Carolina Senate GOP wish list

RALEIGH — The North Carolina General Assembly returns to Raleigh briefly on Tuesday with a short to-do list, topped by another Republican attempt to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the budget more than six months ago.

Senate GOP leaders announced on Monday they’ll again put a budget veto override on their floor-debate calendar.

Republicans only need one Democrat in the chamber to vote to override or two Democrats to be absent to get the necessary supermajority. Neither occurred last fall when Senate Republicans threatened similar votes, and there’s little to indicate the political math has become any easier for the GOP.

While the House rammed through a successful override in September at a moment when dozens of Democrats were absent, the inability of GOP legislators to complete the override and enact their preferred budget became the symbol of the 2019 session. All of Cooper’s vetoes were upheld last year as Democratic leverage improved, thanks to seats gained during the 2018 elections.

Still, Republican Senate leader Phil Berger keeps trying to pitch the positives for Democrats to turn their backs on Cooper, arguing it’ll be the only way for teachers to get significant raises this school year. The vetoed budget also includes money for school construction and local pork projects.

“Democrats have a choice to make. If they want us to have the state move forward with the construction projects that are in the budget, with the teacher pay raise that’s in the budget. They can,” Berger told The Associated Press in an interview. “Tell us that they’re prepared to vote for the override.”

But Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue of Raleigh said he’s “pretty confident” the chamber’s Democrats will remain united with Cooper, even as a new Democrat gets sworn in Tuesday. Durham County Democrats chose retired 20-term state Rep. Mickey Michaux to fill the term vacated by Sen. Floyd McKissick, who resigned last week to serve at the state Utilities Commission.

Although McKissick and three other Senate Democrats actually voted for the GOP budget in June, the chamber’s party caucus have closed ranks since to support Cooper. And Michaux said on Monday that he would “definitely” side with Cooper and sustain the veto.

Cooper and other Democrats oppose the two-year budget written by Republicans because it contained corporate tax cuts and lacked Medicaid expansion. Cooper also proposed average teacher pay increases that are double what the GOP offered.

Cooper wants Republicans to stop trying to override and instead work with him on carving out a better, separate pay plan for teachers and other school personnel. Berger has said that’s not going to happen.

“I hope that the veto will hold,” Cooper told reporters last week. “But I also hope that the Republican legislature will take us up on our offer to negotiate a compromise.”

While a vetoed budget means many GOP conservative policies have been blocked, state government continues to operate. Lawmakers spent the summer and fall passing several stand-alone spending bills for many key agencies, and Cooper signed nearly all into law.

Republicans point out that Cooper vetoed one such bill that would have given teachers the average 3.9% raises contained in the blocked budget. Senate Republicans also announced Monday that Tuesday’s schedule will include potential override votes for the standalone teacher pay bill and a regulatory measure Cooper also vetoed.

Berger and House Rules Committee Chairman David Lewis said legislation also could pass during the expected one-day session to close a funding shortfall for a college scholarship program for the children of wartime veterans. Lewis said the House also may consider some largely technical tax legislation.

After Tuesday, legislators aren’t likely to meet until at least April, when the chief activity of the “short session” will be to draw up and approve spending alterations for the fiscal year starting July 1.