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WILSON, N.C. — Carroll County attorneys and AmerLink's bankruptcy trustee have jointly petitioned the federal court to allow the settlement involving the model home sales center to move ahead.
Log home manufacturer AmerLink was supposed to create about 200 jobs in an economic development deal with Carroll County, but filed for bankruptcy in federal court instead.
Carroll County brought suit, trying to reclaim $600,000 in incentives and 32 acres of land in the industrial park and free a portion of the Southwest Virginia Farmers Market from a long-term lease from the company.
The joint motion dealing with the model home sales center, filed with the court Monday, means Carroll County is making progress towards that objective.
The motion seeks court approval to end the 99-year lease and modify it between the county and the trustee.
The terms of the modification have already been proposed to and approved by the Carroll County Board of Supervisors, said County Attorney Jim Cornwell. It involves allowing the bankruptcy trustee to seek a tenant for the model home sales center.
"The trustee will make every effort to have a new tenant, which employs at least 10 employees and who will make use of the premises in uses which are compatible with the farmer's market," according to information from the county.
If the bankruptcy trustee cannot find a tenant within 12 months from the date of the lawsuit between Carroll and AmerLink being settled, then the company's lease will expire — meaning "the county will own the improvements free and clear," the proposal said.
The modified lease would allow the county to keep its tourism information center in the log home complex for the time being — while the trustee looks for the new tenant, Cornwell said.
"Once he does have a tenant, we will have to vacate because the tenant will take over all space in the building," he said.
The motion awaits approval by the court.
Cornwell expects the second part of the settlement proposal — giving the trustee 20 months to find a buyer for industrial park property or it reverts to county ownership — to come before the court for approval soon.
As both parties have developed the agreement together, Cornwell sees no reason that the court wouldn't approve it, too.