LIBERTY, N.C. — Jim and Judiann Georgevich don’t fight about much but ask them to show you the front of their home and they will walk in opposite directions. Jim Georgevich swears it’s on one side of the house and Judiann Georgevich is convinced it’s on the other.
The sad part about that debate is it doesn’t matter anymore. A couple of weeks ago, the home was bulldozed after NCDOT acquired the land as part of a road improvement project near the megasite project in Randolph County.
“We were informed that our house was within the footprint, and we’d have to mover,” Judiann Georgevich said.
The Georgeviches knew the day would come when they’d be forced to move, but it hasn’t been easy.
“My husband loves this home,” Judiann Georgevich said.
About six years ago, when plans for a megasite were being crafted and finalized, the Georgeviches were approached by Randolph County, the North Carolina Railroad Company, and the Greensboro – Randolph Megasite Foundation. Their land and several others were thought to be needed to get the project off the ground.
“They quietly came into all our neighbors and were making generous offers,” Judiann Georgevich said.
The Georgeviches discussed the offer and while they didn’t want to move, they were also unsure about living next to a major construction project for several years.
“We decided to take the offer,” Judiann Georgevich said.
The offer was right around $413,000 for the land which included the home. Several of their neighbors also agreed to sell their homes as well. The deal was all set and the Georgeviches had already started thinking about finding a new home to move into.
“It was down to the last week of our contract, and they (Megasite Foundation) drove up and delivered a letter. They were dropping us,” Judiann Georgevich said.
The Georgeviches were told the land would eventually be needed but it wasn’t needed yet, so the deal was canceled.
“We were told not to spend any money on the home for improvements or anything like that because, at some point, we’d have to move,” Judiann Georgevich said.
In the following months, several of their neighbors moved out and the homes were later demolished. The Georgeviches figured they’d be forced to move sometime soon but were never given a clear answer of when that might be.
“We had no idea what was going on,” Judiann Georgevich shared.
The years started to roll by, and the megasite would begin construction. By now, it was 2022, six years after they were initially approached about selling the land and moving. The Georgeviches were approached by the NCDOT about acquiring the land for the road improvement project.
“We knew it would happen, but it’s tough,” Judiann Georgevich said.
As the couple prepared for the eventual move, they waited for NCDOT to present them with an offer to sell the six acres of land and the home. Late last year, the NCDOT sent the Georgeviches an offer for three acres of land that included the home. The NCDOT was willing to buy it for $263,000.
“It comes back to the way they (NCDOT) treat us, and the offer is insulting. Do the right thing,” Judiann Georgevich said.
The offer is about $150,000 less than six years ago when they were initially approached by the Megasite Foundation to move.
“It makes no sense,” Judiann Georgevich continued.
The couple has reached out to an attorney and is now in the process of contesting the offer in hopes of being paid more than the $263,000.
In the meantime, the NCDOT can acquire the land through eminent domain and has done just that. The Georgeviches have been paid $263,000 as required by NCDOT but they are contesting the amount.
“They want to offer me $263,000. I can’t buy a home with that,” Jim Georgevich said.
Finding a roughly 2,000-square-foot home, on six acres of land, in this area for that price would certainly seem to be difficult.
To better understand what the land and homes in this area are valued at, we reached out to a licensed real estate agent. Kim Kennedy has been selling homes in this part of Randolph County for years.
While Kennedy acknowledged finding a comparable home in this area to compare the sale price to is difficult, there are several ways to establish a value or list price for a home. Kennedy was able to go back several years and widen the search zone to come up with a reasonable price for Geogevich’s home.
“In the past, 6 years since they receive the initial offer, home prices have astronomically increased,” Kennedy said.
The other important issue to consider, according to Kennedy, the value of that land had NCDOT not wanted it. What would six acres of land, close to the megasite be worth?
“If that property, six years ago was worth 400-plus today, it’s worth that much or more,” Kennedy said.
The process to determine if the NCDOT will have to pay the Geogeviches any additional money could take several months or longer. There are most likely arbitration meetings and maybe court hearings.
“We can’t go buy a home until this is settled,” Jim Geogevich said.
The couple is currently renting a home until this can be settled.
The NCDOT tells WFMY News 2 that it has already acquired 55 acres and various temporary easements for the roadway improvement project.18 parcels have been settled or condemned and 11 other parcels, one of those being the Georgevich’s, have not been settled.