|The owners of the Star Theatre in Huntington, Percy and Janice Mounteer, were the successful bidders for the property adjacent to their theatre.|
At the June Huntington City Council Meeting, the bids were opened for the Gibb property. Huntington City worked for a number of years trying to secure this property on Main Street so they could have the old buildings demolished, as they had become a safety hazard as well as an eyesore to the town.
Two bids were received. The bid as put out in the paper specified that Huntington City could reject any or all bids and did not have to award the property to the highest bidder. A decision would also be made on what the buyer had in mind for the property and what would be the greatest benefit to the city and its residents.
The first bid opened was from Mark Justice for $28,100. The intended use of the property was to construct a building for office and retail uses. Justice would lease the units to renters. The time frame he specified would be to begin work within six months and be finished in 12 months.
The second bid opened was from Percy Mounteer in the amount of $25,500. Specified use would be to construct a parking lot for the adjacent Star Theatre on the front 50 percent of the property. The back portion of the property would be used to create a green space with trees, grass and a skatepark. Also plans included an addition to the back of the theatre to include a donut and fast food business. Mounteer also stated he had 3,500 signatures on petitions which supported his purchasing the property. He would provide opportunities for youth employment and also other businesses along Main Street could use the off-street parking area as well.
Nielson Construction had provided a letter which stated if the bid was awarded to Mounteer they would prepare and construct the parking lot beginning after the property was paid for.
Mayor Jackie Wilson reminded the council that had Mark Justice who is a member of the city council been present at the meeting he would be required to abstain from any input and discussion on the matter of the property and would not be allowed to vote. Justice, however, was not present. Mayor Wilson opened the discussion of the property. She stated that the purchaser of the property would do so with the understanding that the property must be developed within two-three years or Huntington City reserves the right to refund the purchase price and the property would revert back to the city. The payment for the property was due on June 27.
Council member Hilary Gordon stated that Sharon and Kim Earl were in the process of constructing an office type building at this time on Main Street. There was a small amount of discussion on the property and its possible uses. Council member Norm Richardson said he saw no further reason for discussion and he made a motion to award the bid to Mounteer for the development as described in the bid. The motion was seconded by Gordon and voted yes upon by Gordon, Council member Julie Jones and Richardson.