From an editorial Thursday in the (Raleigh) News & Observer:
North Carolina’s ownership of many buildings is in a way like an old toy chest. At one time, those four Hot Wheels tracks were a lot of fun, and mercy, a lot of fun was had with the Transformers. But just as the time comes to donate some of those toys, so the state should go through its inventory of buildings to determine what it needs, and how the state might profit.
The Program Evaluation Division of the General Assembly has done an inventory of state properties and determined that 17 properties could be disposed of. There are, for example, 12 houses near the state Capitol that were built between 1870 and 1947.
Conversations about selling those houses to developers or individuals have gone on for years; it’s time to move along.
There also are prisons that have closed, and other buildings where space is wasted because of paper archive storage (electronic storage is the one and only way now).
There can be sales. There can be public-private partnerships. A state committee is working on it, and this should be an effort not infected with partisanship. Gov. Pat McCrory has in mind “Project Phoenix” to push along with the revitalization of downtown Raleigh with government offices and shops in buildings now underused.
First there was a proposal and then a study and then a committee. Now it’s time to move along with legislation to get this effort going.