Historic Broyhill Office Suites buys former library property

Published 10:21 am Tuesday, February 8, 2022

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By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

Early last year — actually months before the sparkling, new Clemmons Branch Library opened on James Street in June — there was a “for sale” sign at the former library location on Clemmons Road.

And now, nearly 40 years after the town’s first full-service library opened in August 1984 on land donated by Edgar and Melanie Broyhill, there is a buyer with a familiar name for the old facility.

Forsyth County recently accepted an offer of $715,000 from Old Clemmons School Library Properties LLC to purchase the property, including a 1.01 acre lot and 8,500-square-foot building at 3554 Clemmons Road.

In the document sent to Kirby Robinson, assistant general services director for Forsyth County to be presented to the Forsyth County commissioners, Historic Broyhill Office Suites submitted the proposal to purchase the former library property, stating it “would remain institutional, educational or office.”

The proposal was sent by attorney Matthew Bryant from the Winston-Salem law firm of Hendrick Bryant Nerhood & Sanders LLP with “cc: Ed Broyhill.” Attempts to reach Broyhill for comment were unsuccessful.

The aging, county-owned former library was put on the market with a minimum-offer amount of $787,000 — before eventually accepting the offer of $715,000.

Broyhill owns Historic Broyhill Office Suites, the former location of the old Clemmons School that is next door to the east side of the property. The Broyhill family purchased that building in 1981. In addition to office suites, the building is touted as a conference center and historic events center.

As for the closing for this property, Robinson said, “We could close probably any day now. We’re not quite there yet. The buyer is still lining up a couple of things on their end. We’re essentially dealing with the buyer’s attorney, which is Mr. Bryant, and my understanding is that he represents Mr. Broyhill and that he is a piece of that LLC, if not the managing owner of it. When I presented that to the commissioners, I did frame that as an offer from Mr. Broyhill.”

In the resolution authorizing publication of an offer to purchase the property as-is by a negotiated offer, advertisement and upset bids procedure, Forsyth County disclosed that the property has one nonfunctional HVAC unit and that the intended uses were “professional/educational classes, seminars and conferences, and Class A office space.”

Voters in Forsyth County approved a $40 million bond in 2010 for libraries in Clemmons, Winston-Salem and Kernersville.

Long ago, Clemmons outgrew its previous library in terms of space and technology. The new 20,000-square-foot facility built on three acres on James Street is less than a mile from the old location. The final price tag for the total project was $6.6 million, including construction costs of
$5.6 million.

That pales in comparison to the costs incurred for the former library in 1984 with the land being donated and a total cost of the structure coming to $619,370 — with $470,760 of that coming from Forsyth County. Of course, this was two years before Clemmons was even incorporated.

It took 11 years from the time when the library bond passed until the new building was completed. With $6 million being set aside by the county to build (or expand) a library, there was a lengthy debate in Clemmons on the best course of action, including where would be the best location.

In fact, both council meetings in July 2015 were dominated by public hearings and debates in Village Hall with overflow crowds on how to proceed. During that time, Broyhill made a pitch to remodel and expand the library.

He was accompanied by a team that included a traffic engineer, civil engineer attorney and architect, and said that he was excited about the possibilities of preserving and expanding the library in its present location.

“We have a lot of experts that are here,” Broyhill said. “Our efforts are to try and engineer this in a way that will enhance the library better than you will have by relocating it elsewhere. And we will be establishing a historic district, I think, for Clemmons.”

Ultimately, the council rejected the idea and voted in favor of relocating the library to another location. That vote was greeted by loud applause with most of the crowd of about 150 obviously agreeing with the choice.

Later in the year, the council voted to spend $624,000 for a 2.86-acre site on Stadium Drive, which led to the James Street extension and the eventual new home of the library.

And now, it appears, Broyhill will have another chance to decide what he feels will be the best use of the property.