By Tracy R. Mesler
© 2019 The Nocona News
A Virginia-based orchid wholesaler expects to be “turning ground” before the end of the year to construction a 60,000-sqare foot greenhouse designed to produce a million orchids a year in in Nocona starting as early as next August.
Wednesday morning the Nocona City Council unanimously voted to accept Color Orchid, Inc.’s lease-purchase offer of $7,000 per acre for a 50 acre tract of city-owned land wrapping around Blue Mond on Nocona’s northern border.
Color Orchids, working through the Texas Department of Agriculture, initially had looked at Cleburne, among others, before narrowing their choices to the city of Nocona seeking to enter into a lease-purchase agreement on the land.
Color Orchids primarily targets retail grocers and is looking to expand into the south and southwestern United States, said TDA official David Kerchuval who met with the council on Wednesday.
The land had been donated to the city by the late Cecil Fenoglio. Initially Fenoglio donated five acres to allow the city to drill an emergency water well during the drought of 2009-2014. He subsequently donated the remainder of the 63.99-acres tract of land, including the crest of Blue Mound from whence one can see Ringgold, Red River Station and Lake Nocona.
A lease agreement will need to be drafted and signed by both parties as well as survey being completed of the property to complete the deal. But TDA representative David Kercheval told the council “they are anxious to get started.”
While two local real estate developers discussed with city officials about submitting bids for the property with plans “to flip it,” only Color Orchids and owner Ben Van Wingerden of Stevensburg, Vir., submitted a bid.
The council accepted the bid of $7,000 per acre, at 2% interest paying the city $7,000 a year in lease plus property taxes on the land and any improvements. Lease payments will be credited to the purchase price, and the purchaser has the option to renew or purchase at any time.
Should the owner default, the property and all improvements revert to the city.
“Initially he was talking about 5 acres, then 10, and then 50,” said City Manager Lynn Henley who said now that the exact amount of land has been agreed upon the city will have the property surveyed
The city will retain 5 acres around the well site and the remaining 8.99-acres around Blue Mound.
See next week’s edition of The Nocona News for the full story.