Littlefield still searching for prison buyer - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Littlefield still searching for prison buyer


The City of Littlefield continues their search for a new owner for the Bill Clayton Detention Center, more than a month after a private bidder backed out of their $6 million offer.  

Now, the city and their listing agent, Jef Conn, are considering legal action.

"You cannot just bid on a property and then walk away," Conn said.

When the $11 million BCDC was built in 1999, its goal was to employ Littlefield residents and funnel dollars into the local economy.  However, mismanagement of the jail and its eventual vacancy over two years forced the city to cut back.

"We laid off a few people, and people didn't get raises last year," Mayor Shirley Mann said.

The city still owes $9 million on the property.  Although the sale of $5 or $6 million won't necessarily rid the city of their debts to the jail, it would get them closer - which is why the city continues to look for a buyer.  On Monday, they went to another auction, but it didn't have the results they hoped for.
"Noon came and went and we had no takers on the property," City Manager Mike Arismendez said.

Arismendez admits it's easy to feel defeated, but he knows there is a buyer out there.

"We are very optimistic about the potential of being able to still sell the detention center," Arismendez said.

Conn is also optimistic.  While Monday's auction may not have provided bidders, it did provide opportunities.

"The good thing that came out of that is we have multiple parties who have now expressed interest in negotiating with the city and we are working with those parties right now," Conn said.

The Littlefield City Council will go over their offers during Monday's city council meeting.  At that time, they will select the appropriate buyer, and could have a new owner for the detention center by Monday evening.  

KCBD NewsChannel 11 will continue to follow all of those developments.

Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11

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