Alamance-County’s tax department has initiated foreclosure proceedings against the former Culp Weaving mill property along East Parker Street that burned earlier this month, marking the second major blaze at the facility since October 11, 2022.
The current owner of the former mill, UK Warehousing LLC, owes the county a combined total of $18,347.14 for years of unpaid property taxes on three pieces of property, Alamance County tax administrator Jeremy Akins said this week in an interview with The Alamance News.
All three parcels would be offered as a single transaction at a foreclosure sale, which remains pending, Akins said, adding that his department is working to get a foreclosure sale scheduled as soon as possible.
One of the parcels, a 1.01-acre vacant lot directly beside the former mill, is listed on county tax records as being owned by Elite Warehousing LLC, though that property is part of the same foreclosure proceeding.
Akins confirmed that the county had already started the foreclosure process to collect back property taxes before the former mill was engulfed in a three-alarm fire on Sunday night, November 12; it was considered a total loss even though some walls still stand.
[Story continues below photos of the former Culp mill building.]
THE AFTERMATH OF TWO FIRES
“March 2017 was the last payment [on the company’s county property tax bills],” the tax administrator said in an interview Tuesday morning. “That paid their 2016 bill…This looks like a lot of back taxes, a lot of back years for them not to be paid.”
While a notice of foreclosure that ran in late September 2023 listed several other lien holders against the property, unpaid county taxes take priority over any other outstanding debts that the company may owe, Akins said. (The county’s tax foreclosure notice listed the following lien holders: the city of Graham; the state Department of Natural Resources, now the Department of Environmental Quality; and United Sprinkler Company.)
“When somebody has a mortgage on their home, and they go into foreclosure, and we have a line for taxes, we immediately bump them out of the way,” Akins elaborated. “It gives leverage to counties to collect taxes.”
The county tax liens are against three parcels along East Parker Street. The largest parcel, at 300 East Parker Street, includes the 204,942-square foot former mill building and 11.59 acres of land.
The latest assessed value for that property at 300 East Parker Street, which is considered distressed, is $537,241, the county’s tax administrator confirmed for the newspaper Tuesday. UK Warehousing owes the county $17,647.30 in back taxes on that account, Akins said.
The second parcel that would be sold at foreclosure is a vacant lot owned by UK Warehousing LLC, spanning less than an acre at an unaddressed location at the corner of East Parker and Seymour streets in Graham. That property has an outstanding county tax bill of $235.73 on that parcel, for which the latest tax value is $6,690, Akins confirmed for the newspaper.
The third parcel to be sold at foreclosure consists of a 1.01-acre vacant lot at an undressed location at the corner of East Parker and Pomeroy Streets. That property has an outstanding county tax bill of $446.11, the latest assessed value is $13,845, the county’s tax administrator said.
Meanwhile, UK Warehousing obtained a $1,060,000 loan in July 2022, and secured the note with a deed of trust on the property at 300 East Parker Street, based on documents filed with the county’s Register of Deeds. That note appeared to have been repaid on September 21, 2022, according to a subsequent filing with the Register of Deeds.
Once a foreclosure sale is scheduled, state law provides a 10-day window in which other parties may place an “upset bid,” and each new upset bid starts a new round of bidding and another 10-day period in which additional upset bids can be filed. If no additional bids are filed before the 10-day window ends, the foreclosure sale is finalized, according to an explanation of the process from the North Carolina courts system.
Court-appointed receiver took control of both companies in 2022
UK Warehousing has its principal office at 2700 Gateway Centre Boulevard in Morrisville. The LLC has two managing members, Ketki Patel, whose address is also listed at the Gateway Centre Boulevard location in Morrisville; and Ula Patel of 71 Providence Highway in Westwood, Massachusetts, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
However, UK Warehousing LLC was administratively dissolved by the Secretary of State’s Office in February 2020 for failure to file required annual reports.
Elite Warehousing had two managing members, Harshad Patel of Westwood, Massachusetts, and Ujas Patel of 12300 Pawley’s Mill Circle in Raleigh, according to the Secretary of State. Elite Warehousing LLC was administratively dissolved by the Secretary of State’s Office earlier this year for failure to file required annual reports.
Ula Patel had filed a lawsuit in Wake County superior court last year to have a receiver appointed to oversee all of the assets owned by UK Warehousing and Elite Warehousing, including the three pieces of property in Graham. That action was based over an apparent impasse between the managing members of the two companies, resulting in years’ of back taxes and the property falling into disrepair, according to the court file.
Wake County superior court judge A. Graham Shirley, II granted Ula Patel’s motion to appoint a receiver, and designated Raleigh attorney Jonathan Caleb Thomas as a general receiver to immediately take control of all of the assets and records held by UK Warehousing and Elite Warehousing, according to an order Shirley entered on June 29, 2022.
The newspaper has been unable to locate any federal court documents that would indicate whether UK Warehousing or Elite Warehousing has filed for bankruptcy protection.
As of November 13 of this year, Elite Warehousing and UK Warehousing owe the city of Graham $17,742.86 in back taxes; $19,946 in fines for citations; and $222,450 in city ordinance violations, for a total debt of $260,138.86, according to Sandy Callahan, who is the city’s tax collector.
Graham fire chief Tommy Cole said after the latest fire on November 12 that several walls had collapsed and the mill building, which had been vacant but used for storage, was a total loss.
See story on November 12, 2023 fire: https://alamancenews.com/3-alarm-fire-collapsing-roofs-and-walls-finish-off-former-mill-building/
See story on October 2022 fire: https://alamancenews.com/an-all-call-fire-as-all-county-fire-depts-respond-to-tues-night-fire-at-old-mill-in-graham/