VACHERIE — No one apparently is in the market to buy a former juvenile detention center — at least not at full price.
After receiving no bids in the last month for purchase of the St. Parish Youth Detention Center, the St. James Parish Council on Wednesday approved reducing the $2.5 million asking price that had been set in April for the vacant property.
State law requires the parish initially to list property at 100 percent of its appraised market value. If property does not sell, it can be listed for 75 percent of its appraised value, which is what council members chose to do Wednesday.
The new price of the youth detention center is $1.87 million.
If there are still no parties interested in buying at the reduced price, the Parish Council can vote to reduce the price to 50 percent of appraised value. Eventually, the Parish Council could list the property at any price its chooses, officials have said.
“Of course, we’re not going to give this thing away,” said Roussel.
The multi-parish youth center closed June 30 because of new state regulations that would have driven up the cost to maintain the facility.
St. James Parish now pays for local youth offenders to be sent to a detention center in Assumption Parish with a parish wide 1-mill tax once used to maintain and operate the youth detention center.
Parish officials have considered turning the youth detention center, located on the west bank of the Mississippi Rover adjacent to the Sunshine Bridge, into modular housing for temporary industrial workers, a prisoner work-release program hub, a nursing home or a minimum security prison.
Roussel said Wednesday the Parish Council might have to examine other options to sell the property including demolishing the building or improving the property in other ways.
Councilman Jimmy Brazan said he wanted to discuss the cost of the building’s demolition if no one puts in a bid for the youth detention center at its new lower price.