Delaware County has received three bids in its latest attempt to sell the old county jail, with two of them submitted by those who sought to buy the building in April.
The latest bids were submitted by the Oct. 31 deadline -- the third deadline the county has set as it has issued three different sets of bid requirements in succession.
Michael Cox, Roxlton Holding LLC of Delaware and Connect Realty of Columbus are the bidders. Cox and Roxlton submitted bids in April, during the county's first effort to sell the historic jail.
County commissioners in May decided to reject those bids and draft a new set of requirements, with a bidding deadline of Aug. 24. Commissioners then scrapped that plan Aug. 20 to allow bids on both the old jail at 20 W. Central Ave. and an adjacent house at 22 Court St.
Cox submitted a bid of $178,500 for both buildings, and another bid of $112,000 for the jail alone, as permitted by the bid requirements.
Cox said his latest bid, like the one he submitted in April, indicates he would convert the former jail into legal offices.
If the county accepts his bid for both buildings, Cox said, 22 Court St. would be converted to mixed use, such as office, retail or possibly residential.
One goal, he said, would be to keep the parking at that site.
"We would have more parking than we would need, and probably would make public parking available so people can get to downtown on Friday nights and weekends," he said.
Because the county has owned 22 Court St. for so long, he said, its zoning status is unclear. Resolving that issue could lead to an apartment in the house, he said.
The jail most recently has been used to house the Delaware County Law Library and an office for the Fifth District Court of Appeals. Cox said his plan would keep the building "in the legal community."
He said he and attorney Nick Mango would have their Delaware offices in the old jail, and space also would be available for one or two other lawyers. One goal would be to link the buildings aesthetically, he said, with coordinated landscaping and lighting.
"We're excited about the opportunity," he said. "We'd love to have it."
In its April bid, Roxlton Holding indicated the jail would be used for a restaurant and inn with spa services. The latest bid, said Roxanne Amidon, a Roxlton owner, calls for using the jail as a spa and restaurant, but not an inn.
Roxlton's bid was $175,001 for both buildings.
"We would like to revert the 22 Court St. property back to a residence," she said. "The property was once a duplex, and we would like to renovate (the house) into two single-family homes. We are contemplating adding two two-car garages with rooftop patios and gardens."
Connect Realty bid $183,500 for both buildings. The company did not return a phone call last week about its plans for the jail and house.
County Director of Facilities Jon Melvin said Connect Realty indicated it would use the buildings for a "dining and entertainment experience."
Melvin said the bidders' documents won't be made public until they are vetted by the county prosecutor's office.
Soon after that happens, he said, county commissioners will review the bids.
The county rejected the original bids in May after Assistant County Prosecutor Aric Hochstettler said the bidding process was based on price alone, and the commissioners were "not in a position legally to negotiate on unannounced criteria."
Following discussion with the prosecutor's office, commissioners approved the new bid requirements.
They instructed bidders to provide a summary on the jail's planned use, references supporting each bidder's experience, and a business plan and economic impact statement, among other requirements.