Carefree losing Alchemix Corporation as renter

By Curtis Riggs | June 3, 2009

Alchemix building
Chamber threatens closure if budget cut

CAREFREE – Town budget hearings revealed a few surprises for new town council members who were sworn into office earlier this week.

It was announced at a budget hearing last week the tenant in the building the council hurriedly purchased before the end of 2008 will be vacating the 4,400-square-foot Eight Sundial Circle building by the end of June. Not only does this require town officials to come up with revenue to offset the $60,000 rent they hoped to collect annually, but it also forces the council to move more quickly to find a new home for the Carefree Municipal Court. Several councilmen had hoped to put off this decision for at least five years because of a favorable lease the court and the town have at their present location.

“The best thing for the town would be to stay where we are at and have the tenant stay there,” longtime Councilman Greg Gardner said at the December 2008 meeting when the town agreed to purchase the near 1-acre property for $850,000.

Vice Mayor Lloyd Meyer said, “by every measure there is no question this is an incredible real estate deal that is good for the town.”

Mayor Wayne Fulcher said, “The time is right” to purchase the property back in December.
The council voted 6-1, with Councilman Bob Coady dissenting, to approve the purchase, which required the town to take out a $500,000 loan.

The irony of the longtime town officials’ push to buy the building in December is all three withdrew from the council a couple of months ago. Budget problems incurred by the purchase of the property and other issues are now the problems of the new town council.

Councilman Glenn Miller, an electrician and retired Chicago firefighter, checked out the building after the town learned its renter, the Alchemix Corporation, would be leaving at the end of the month. He estimates it would cost the town $125,000 to move the court to the new location. Plan B floated by Miller, which includes the Carefree Town Hall moving to the new building and the court occupying the present town hall space, would cost the town $70,000.

“It all comes down to common sense,” Miller said. “We all want to spend as little as possible. If the court moves over there we will have to take out the bulletproof glass and move it over there.”

In other budget bad news, Carefree/Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ian Ellison threatened if the council cuts the chamber budget the chamber will be forced to close its visitor’s center in Carefree.

Citizen activist John Traynor asked about how the town’s sales tax revenue will be negatively impacted by the bankruptcy of the Carefree Resort & Villas, which has long been one of Carefree’s primary sources of sales-tax revenue.

New Town Administrator Gary Neiss explained the resort has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which allows it to reorganize. He said the resort is “operational” and two companies are looking at purchasing it.

Photo: Facing the June 30 departure of their tenant, Carefree officials are now concerned about making payments on the loan taken out to purchase the Eight Sundial Circle building in December as a future home for the Carefree Municipal Court.
Photo by Curtis Riggs