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April 17, 2024

Gruppo ETICO, Republican Party ink deal for Taylorsville building

APARTMENTS PART OF DEVELOPMENT PLAN — The Bell Building, located on South Center Street across from the Courthouse, will soon be under new ownership with an agreement reached this week by its owner, the Alexander County Republican Party, and purchaser, Gruppo ETICO, an area developer. The building, built circa 1904-05, once housed local attorneys, doctors, and a hat shop. It currently houses the Republican Party and Flower and Gift Shop on its lower floor. Plans call for the upper floor to be converted to apartments.


A local political party signed a deal this week to sell an area development company its downtown building, which will be renovated and be partially converted into housing.

Gruppo ETICO’s managing partner Dennis LaCaria and Alexander County Republican Party Chair Jack Simms signed a sales agreement on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, for the party to sell its historic downtown building to ETICO, a Charlotte-based developer. ETICO’s aim is to create a vibrant downtown economy in places like Taylorsville, Cherryville, and other towns in which they have development projects, while offering housing units downtown that are within financial reach of local residents.

The Republican Party will retain its footprint in the building with a 99-year lease of part of the facility for $1 per year.

Simms noted during the GOP’s Tuesday meeting the parties have agreed upon a purchase price of $23,000 and will provide the GOP a $30/sq. ft. allowance on the 3,300 sq. ft. building (about $50,000) for renovation.

The party’s tenant, Flower and Gift Shop, will remain in place with a series of two consecutive five-year lease agreements.

ETICO will rename the building at a later date; it will retain a mention of the Republican Party headquarters.

The upper floor of the building will be converted into apartments, likely six units, some as one bedroom and others as studio units. Rent prices will be kept affordable and will be income-based for this market; however, government subsidy (Section 8) will not be accepted on rent payments.

Built about 1904 or 1905, the structure has been known for many years as the Bell Building. At various times, it housed Duke Power, Ray Jennings law office, the law office of Tressie Pierce Boyd, Dr. Ralph Herman’s dental office, and Ida’s Hat Shop, among others. For some time in the 1950s, the building also housed the North Carolina Republican Party Headquarters, when Ray Jennings was state party chairman.

The Republican Party purchased the building in 2001 for $85,000 from the Sitler family. Party officers who took part in the 2001 signing included three present at Tuesday’s event: Bill Randlett, Travis Wike, and Exie Robinette. Simms honored the trio for their part in the purchase with award plaques.

Simms noted the sale to ETICO would help the party by solving several problems. It would remove from the GOP’s hands the costs of plumbing and other issues which have plagued the building, eliminate the party’s responsibility for tax and insurance on the structure, and would allow monetary donations to be used for campaigns, instead of building upkeep and loan payments. The payment amount would more than pay off the Republican Party’s loan.

“One of the things that a Republican Party needs is to be stable. You need to be in the same location, so people will know where you are,” said Simms.

LaCaria stated that Gruppo ETICO is looking forward to development of the building as a start to revitalizing Taylorsville’s downtown area.

“We are a company that was formed with the guiding principle of delivering housing that people can afford, without need of any ongoing subsidies or voucher acceptance,” LaCaria said. “We think that’s going to be the key to revitalizing downtown Taylorsville. We need residents downtown in order to drive other businesses. As well as for people to have a place to live, they’re going to want to know where they’re dry cleaner is. They’re going to want to know where their veterinarian is, where the restaurant is. All those things are driven by residential development. So, we’re starting with residences. That’s going to be the driver for the next set of changes we’ll see in Taylorsville,” LaCaria said.

“We going to ensure that the people who are going to be working in those dry cleaners or other businesses are going to be able to live close to those businesses. We’re really excited about being part of this project. We’re really excited about being here in Taylorsville,” LaCaria added.

DEAL HELPS DEVELOPER, TENANTS — A written agreement signed Tuesday night, Nov. 12, establishes the sale of the Alexander County Republican Party Headquarters building in Taylorsville to Gruppo ETICO, area developer. The Republican Party and Flower and Gift Shop will remain in the lower floor. ETICO will develop the upper floor for apartments. Shown above, left to right: Republican Party Chair Jack Simms and Managing Partner Dennis LaCaria.


HONORED FOR ORIGINAL 2001 PURCHASE OF BUILDING — The Alexander County Republican Party honored three long-time members Tuesday who were instrumental in securing the party’s headquarters building back in 2001, when the party purchased the old Bell building. Pictured above, current Chairman Jack Simms (standing, far right) recognized Bill Randlett (left), Exie Robinette (center), and Travis Wike (seated) on November 12, 2019.



  1. Jeri Perry on November 13, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    Great job, Micah. So often when you know anything about a story, its nowhere like what you knew.
    You covered it just as I head it!

  2. Jan Melton on November 15, 2019 at 7:48 am

    Congratulations to both the Republican Party and ETICO! Not only does the transaction benefit both the buyer and seller, it takes us a step closer to the revitalization of downtown. Special shout out to Jack Simms: great job Jack, Thank you.

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