Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue will ask state leaders to lease the 325-acre Dorothea Dix Hospital campus to the city for $68 million over 75 years – a move that would enable Raleigh to fulfill its vision for a major urban park on a valuable tract of state land just south of downtown.
The Council of State will vote on whether to enter the lease deal at its meeting Tuesday. The 10-member panel of statewide leaders is majority Democrat but remains undecided about the governor’s plan. Republican Gov.-elect Pat McCrory and GOP legislative leaders have asked the council to delay the decision until the new administration takes power in January.
Under the terms of the proposed deal announced Friday, the city would pay $500,000 a year to lease the land plus a 1.5 percent annual increase compounded over the length of the agreement. The city would be allowed to renew the lease for one 24-year period and gives the state limited oversight authority over the land’s use. A state appraisal put the current value of the land at $58 million; the City of Raleigh estimated it at $35 million.
The proposed deal would allow the state to maintain its Department of Health and Human Services offices on the property for up to 15 years. Perdue’s administration is looking to consolidate the state agency on a new campus but an effort to find a location remains unresolved.
Perdue aides said the proposal would give the incoming administration flexibility to design and implement a central campus in the next few years.
But even Democratic State Auditor Beth Wood said Friday the deal is "rushed." She said she still needs information about the vote in four days to determine whether it's a good deal for all the state's residents.