Hold it! | Arkansas Blog

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hold it!

Posted By on Mon, Nov 2, 2009 at 6:08 PM

Just got out of a public information session at Central Arkansas Water about its $12.4 million deal to buy Jay DeHaven's Canterbury Park dream, the Winrock Grass Farms property. Several people there questioned CAW CEO Graham Rich how land bought for $4.5 million in 2007 is now worth $12.4 million.

Background: DeHaven bought the property at auction at the Pulaski County Courthouse for $4.5 million in 2007. It was appraised last year by the Trust for Public Lands for $5.4 million for 804 acres. Now, a second appraiser for the Trust says the land -- untouched since 2007 -- is worth $12.4 million for 915 acres. (Actually, the appraisal came in at $13; DeHaven and the trust agreed on $12.4).

Here's what Rich says: The first appraisal was low, it's important to buy the land now before the state (kicking in $4 million) and Game and Fish ($1 million) decide to spend that money for something else besides acquisition of the property, and who knows what would happen to the land if it's foreclosed on Nov. 10 as expected.

The trust will address the CAW board when it meets at 11 a.m. Wednesday, when it's expected to agree to a lease-purchase arrangement for $8 million. (CAW is hoping to get $4 million in a forestry grant next year to reduce its share further.)

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