Article Published: Aug. 22, 2012 | Modified: Aug. 23, 2012
Wells Fargo bank was the sole bidder at $1.422 million on
Blowing Rock’s Hayes Center during a public auction Tuesday, Aug. 21.
another entity submits an upset bid in the next 10 days, the bank will own the roughly
26,000-square-foot arts center, all its contents and the 4.5 acres on which it
The 12:30 p.m. auction proceeded quickly at the Watauga County Courthouse on
Tuesday, as attorney Anna O’Neal of K&L Gates law firm in Charlotte read the notice of sale in
front of a crowd of about 15 onlookers.
The Mariam and Robert Hayes Center, also
called the Blowing Rock Cultural Arts Center during its final years, opened in August 2006 after
being first proposed around 2000.
The facility cost almost $10 million to build
and featured a 348-seat auditorium, smaller theater-in-the-round, dressing rooms, meeting rooms and
The Hayes Center temporarily suspended operations in 2009 after
a significant decline in income from donors and ticket sales.
In 2011, the board
formed a repositioning team with an arts consultant and hired Todd Morgan as its managing
director. It scheduled a number of weekend productions for a season that ran from June to October,
slashing prices as the season came to a close.
In February 2012, the center’s
board announced that ownership of the building would revert to Wells Fargo bank due to
indebtedness. At that time, the outstanding debt totaled about $4.5 million, according to board
member Lee Layton.
The property’s tax value is $3,847,900, according to Watauga