Thirty to 40 people attended the public hearing Monday night.

MIKE CONLEY

After a public hearing and a discussion that lasted almost 90 minutes, the McDowell County Commissioners voted unanimously Monday night to approve the process of buying the former RockTenn building and property in downtown Marion for use as county office space.

Approximately 30 to 40 people filled the commission boardroom to speak about this issue and the commissioners answered their questions. In their action, the commissioners voted to have a due-diligence period of 60 days in order to determine if any issues exist with the approximately 100,000-square-foot property. After that period, the county will lease the building for one year for $100,000. This will give time for an architect to determine the best use for this structure. After that one-year period, the county will purchase it for $650,000.

The plan to buy the building for $750,000 raised questions after The McDowell News reported it sold in December for just $275,000.

County officials said the former industrial building could be used to provide more office room for county employees and Department of Social Services staff or even rent other parts of it out for private businesses, like at the Universal building.

Look for more on this story Tuesday here at www.mcdowellnews.com.