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Friends plans to sell Barr property

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This week a Friends Care Community task force announced plans to sell the Barr property, which the Morgan Family Foundation had gifted to the care center in November. According to Friends Board President Mary White, the care center decided that it was not financially feasible to utilize the property and wants the space to be made available for another village use.

“It’s a valuable piece of property, and we hope it will be used for something that’s in line with the needs of the village,” White said this week. “Since finding a use for it is not within our means, we’re very grateful to be able to use it for its cash value.”

The Morgan Foundation purchased the property at the corner of Xenia Avenue and Limestone Street for $410,000 and turned its management over to Friends in 2007 with the stipulation that it be used for senior housing. Friends spent the following two years designing and publicly vetting a plan to build a $3.7 million energy-efficient building with 30 affordable apartment units for senior residents. Friends spent about $200,000 on design and planning before the recession rendered the financial plan unfeasible.

The foundation spent the past year considering other uses proposed by individuals and organizations in the community, some of which were new and others of which had been proposed before, foundation director Lori Kuhn said this week. The foundation’s board felt that none of the needs were as highly valued as Friends Care, Kuhn said. So the board lifted the restriction on the property’s use and offered to gift it to Friends.

Since Friends was not able to build on the Barr property, the center formed a task force to consider other uses for it, and decided in the end to sell, White said. Friends’ gift policy requires the center to convert large holdings into cash for the use of the facility rather than be used as an investment.

“That is typically what we do,” White said, referring to a property on the corner of Allen and Limestone Street that was given to Friends several years ago. “And we will definitely find a use for [cash from sale of the land]. We have so many needs at Friends — we could use if for cash reserves or capital needs for improvements. These are just tough times.”

The 1.6-acre Barr property on the corner of Limestone and Xenia Avenue has a historic home on it, and has previously been considered for use as an arts center or a senior center. The Friends task force is currently appraising the property and registering it with a commercial realtor. The Village has enough zoning and planning restrictions that any use would have to meet the approval of Village leaders to be accepted, White said.

The Village “has so many layers of oversight that no one should worry,” she said.


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