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Ellis County gets ready to sell SSC property for needed $6 million

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Ellis County Press Managing Editor

WAXAHACHIE - Ellis County has two potential buyers interested in its Superconducting Supercollider property, and Judge Al Cornelius now is in position to act fast if the price is right.

The Ellis County Commissioners Court approved Judge Cornelius to enter into a contract for the sale as the point of a special meeting last Tuesday morning following a brief executive session. It must be a qualified buyer and the purchase price must be 'no less than $6,000,000.'

Two companies, who reportedly have asked not to be revealed, are expressing interest in purchasing the county's SSC property, located at 941 and 971 Perimeter Road west of downtown Waxahachie, 'but it's not a done deal by any means,' Judge Cornelius told reporters after the meeting. 'I cautioned the commissioners not to get too excited about this.'

The court also extended the county's exclusive listing agreement with Henry S. Miller Commercial Co., which was to expire on Aug. 9, for another six months into February, 2001.

'We're talking to a couple of outfits that we feel very positive about,' Judge Cornelius reported, 'but it's still in the talking stage. What today's business does is allow us to move quickly.'

The two potential buyers have 90 days to complete their 'due diligence,' as Judge Cornelius put it, and take a close look at the property for anything that might affect their offer. 'I'm hoping we can do this whole thing in two months,' he said.

The court took just 10 minutes to approved the listing extension and go into executive session. The doors were closed only 17 minutes. There was no discussion when the special meeting reconvened, and Judge Cornelius was quickly approved by a 3-1 vote. Commissioner Ron Brown voted no. Commissioner Jerry Holland made the motion. Commissioner Charlie Waller was absent.

Judge Cornelius said $6 million would be a 'great help' to Ellis County, which is struggling to meet its building program's obligations.

'It'd be a boon,' Judge Cornelius said, noting the SSC proceeds already have been approved for the county's capital projects, which include the new jail, court/justice and administration buildings. 'We shouldn't have to use any of it for courthouse restoration,' he said. 

Asked his answer to those who claim the property is worth substantially more than $6 million, Judge Cornelius answered, 'Did you ever have a car that meant a lot to you and wanted more than $500 for the old clunker?

'It doesn't matter if the property cost even $200 million, it wouldn't be worth that unless someone wants to build a SSC,' he said.

The property reportedly has been up for sale 'for three or four years' and produced only one serious offer for $5 million. It was turned down 'because what would be produced on the property was toxic,' said the judge, who added, 'We were hoping to get more than that.'

Calling the sale a much-needed 'windfall,' Judge Cornelius said, 'We've already got $1 million out of the water and electric lines that were in it. If we get $6 million, it's like icing on the cake to us.'

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Nelson Propane

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