There is no deal for the sale of the old Central Fire Station in Brownwood.
    Mayor Stephen Haynes said the three bids received by the Brownwood Municipal Development District (BMDD) did not meet bid specifications, and the BMDD board voted to reject all three after a joint meeting of the board and the Brownwood City Council Tuesday afternoon.
    Haynes said it will be up to the BMDD board to decide whether it wants to rebid the sale of the property, and BMDD board president Ryan Reagan said the issue will be on the agenda for the board’s February meeting.
    Shuler Properties of Atlanta, Ga., which had submitted a letter of intent to buy the property and build a fast food restaurant, submitted a bid for $290,000. The company asked that the BMDD pay for the demolition of the fire station and asbestos removal.
    Bill Ruth, a former Brownwood resident who now lives in Fredericksburg, submitted a bid for $311,000 and said he would establish a Mr. Gatti’s pizza restaurant.
    The third bid was submitted by Ruth’s sister, Angie Schum, who said she would establish a Chick-Fil-A.
    “Where we go from here, I think, is up to the BMDD,” Haynes said. “It’s their action to take first, so they will have to go back and decide how and when or if they want to reopen the bids for the project, and there will have to be another bid process that they go through.”
    The property is located on a site that is both prime and historic. Located at the busy intersection of Austin Avenue and Main Street, the property was the home of the Central Fire station for 50 years until a new station was built.
    Ruth and his sister said the two were not in competition with each other even though each submitted a bid. Ruth said he had started out with the idea of establishing a Chick- Fil-A but said he is not optimistic the company would agree to put a restaurant on the property, located at the intersection of Austin Avenue and Main Street.
    Guy Andrews, executive director of the BMDD, and Brownwood City Manager Emily Crawford declined to give specifics as to why the bids did not meet specifications.
    Mayor Stephen Haynes did respond to Ruth when Ruth asked why his bid was rejected.
    One big issue, Haynes said, was that Ruth would not agree to a reversion clause in the bid specifications. The reversion clause meant the property would have reverted back to the city if the developer did not complete the project according to bid specifications.
    “The people of the city of Brownwood have a vested interest in making sure their property is put to the highest and best use,” Haynes said. The city doesn’t want to sell the property and “all of a sudden it’s some nefarious business that no one wants,” Haynes said.
    Ruth said he would agree to the reversion clause if it was cancelled once the archetectural drawings were approved and the name of the business was established.
    Haynes said his message to the Ruth, Schum and Shuler Properties: “I want all the businesses. In between now and whatever time the BMDD undertakes the action to rebid it, let’s work together. If you need me to go with you to meet with corporate, I will go. I will send a delegation from the city and we will do everything we can to make those businesses come here.”
    Haynes said the purpose of the bid specifications was to make sure the property is sold and developed in a way that’s conducive to the city’s Master Plan and conforms to the “highest and best use of the property. We don’t want to just sell a lot on speculation. That’s not what we do.
    “Our goal is to make sure the property is developed in a way that maximizes its potential for the city, and indirectly, for all the citizens of Brownwood.”
    Price, the number of jobs created, the amount of property and sales tax revenue generated and aesthetics of the project are among components of the bid specifications, Haynes said.
    “We’ve bought and sold a lot of property over the years,” Haynes said. “This one, however, is of particular importance because of its history in the city of Brownwood. We don’t have this opportunity very often, and I think we ought to go into it cautiously and carefully, and make sure the project that is planned for that intersection is one the the city and the BMDD believe is conducive to the overall objective the the city and our citizens.”
    Andrews said the property had gone through a bid process because “we had somebody come in with a specific project.”
    In November, council members authorized the sale of the property through a sealed bid.  Andrews said then that a developer had submitted a letter of intent to buy the property for $290,000, with the provision that the BMDD pay for asbestos remediation and demolition of the building
     Andrews did not name the developer at that time but said the developer stated an intent to build a $950,000, 1,640-square-foot fast food restaurant with 40 parking spaces, a drive-thru lane and 20 employees with an average annual salary of $20,000. Those numbers were to be in the bid specifications, Andrews said then.
    Andrews declined to name the restaurant but said its first-year estimated sales would be $2 million, which would generate $165,000 in sales tax revenue.