Meridian Star

January 2, 2014

For Sale: A city block, a real fixer-upper

Downtown buildings for sale ‘can be had for a song’

By Terri Ferguson Smith /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Four buildings in downtown Meridian are up for sale and the seller said bids start at $1, plus back taxes that total about $20,000.

    The owner of the buildings, Tag Purvis, said his rose-colored glasses are cracked and he's giving up on his previous dream of transforming a downtown block into condominiums, office and retail space.

    Purvis, a filmmaker and Meridian native, returned to his hometown several years ago to help his father, Guy Purvis in the family's financial management business. Hoping to turn the old buildings into a thriving part of downtown, Purvis bought the block containing the former Baum building for some $175,000 about six years ago, he said.

    "When I first got back here," Purvis said, "I envisioned moving my office down there. I thought of having condos upstairs, retail and office space downstairs."

    An architect friend drafted plans for the site, but at that time, Purvis said, the situation politically was not conducive for getting things done in a historic area.

    "It was very difficult to get anything done," he said.

    After similar troubles renovating a space on 22nd Avenue, Purvis said he was officially giving up on the Baum building plans. So he recently announced, via press release, that he was selling the property. However, Purvis' sales pitch is anything but traditional.

    "It’s an amazing building and it can be had for a song," Purvis wrote. "But life is short, and this is Meridian ... therefore, I could in no way recommend this purchase no matter the price tag."

    His advice to prospective purchasers? Don't sink a penny into it until you have all your plans approved. Purvis went on to say that he is accepting bids for the city block and the preferred bidder should be a "dreamer." He added, "No bid is laughable. All considered."

    "After many years away, I returned to Meridian with visions that included the development of the Baum block but that bird has flown," Purvis wrote. "However, if you’ve ever had any desire to own a city block and you imagine a charming town glistening on the hill, my hat is off to you and this could be your grand opportunity. It would be a shame to see the beautiful Baum Building go down into the dust, as has been the fate of most of Meridian's history. Like the Threefoot Building, it too is important. But I am no longer the person for the job and the clock is ticking."

    Bids may be placed on Facebook at: right building/wrong town or bids can be faxed to 601-483-0459. For more information call Purvis at 601-693-1304.

    The deadline for bids is May 1, at which time a decision will be made, he said.