Forsyth Commissioners Approve Bid Period for Old Courthouse

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Forsyth County commissioners have voted to open up bids for the old courthouse after a developer shares plans to turn it into apartments.

Commissioners approved an upset bid period Monday after Clachan Properties LLC offered to buy the building for $700,000.

“We've had offers over the last couple of years. This is the first one the commissioners felt was in the ballpark financially,” said Forsyth County Manager Doug Watts.

The upset bid allows others to bid on the property for a set period of time. The buyer will be required to preserve the building's history and character, Watts said.

The entire deal could take a year to complete before construction can begin.

Clachan has experience in downtown conversion projects, turning a former Hanes textile plant into the Winston Factory Lofts.

Commissioner David Plyer said Clachan's plan is geared toward both redevelopment and preservation.

“The problems we've had for years is a courthouse that has a ceiling falling in. The roof is falling in, there's no air conditioning and no heat,” Plyer said. “Anything that you can keep that will preserve the heritage and culture of a community is well worthwhile.”

The outside memorials to those who died in the Civil War and World War I, as well as a time capsule buried in the yard in 1949, will not be sold and kept publicly owned.

The capsule will be moved inside the courthouse walls during expansions and won't be opened until 2049.

The city block has always been home to the county courthouse. The first was built in 1852 and then replaced with the second courthouse in the mid 1890s. That courthouse is still in service.

Historians said, unknown to many, the turrets were removed in the mid 1920's and the current structure built around it.