Deal: Teppers purchase final

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 3, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

The real estate deal involving the purchase of the Teppers building downtown was made official on Tuesday, and its new owners say a change is on the way.

Shawn Samuelson, chair of the Freedom Foundation’s

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board of directors, confirmed Wednesday the Colorado-based nonprofit has closed the real estate purchase on the 25 Broad St. property. She said they are proceeding immediately.

“We should be showing some signs of progress within the next six months,” Samuelson said.

Plans call for complete renovations of the structure, which has a basement and four floors. It will have multiple uses. Mark Duke said he sees it as a place for people to come together. The terms of the purchase were not disclosed, however, Duke, chief executive director of the Parker, Colo.-based foundation, said they have preliminary architectural drawings and plans that include an atrium atop the four-story building.

The building will house social service programs and meeting areas on its middle floors. The first floor will house a coffee shop, an ice cream parlor and an Internet caf, Duke said.

Among the tallest buildings downtown, located at Broad Street and Selma Avenue, the owners said the siding will soon come down as they plan to return the structure to its once place of prominence.

Duke, 49, is a former airline executive who pastors a non-denominational church in Colorado, and is a native of North Carolina, has said he knows small town people may be skeptical of an outside entity with big plans, and the best thing they could do is show their sincerity. Duke will be back in town soon for a speaking engagement at Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church.

The son of a minister, Duke said his ties to the community go back to his father bringing him to Selma as a child during the 1960s voting rights demonstrations.