Heronswood Sale Update 7/07
Here's the letter I just rcvd FYI:
Dear PNHC Supporter,
Good news! The Pacific Northwest Horticultural Conservancy has at last received 501(c)3 status from the IRS. This status is retroactive to July 27, 2006, so all contributions received by our organization from that date forward are tax deductible.
Since the unsuccessful and disappointing conclusion of our earnest negotiations with W. Atlee Burpee & Company in May, many of our supporters have contacted us to ask, whatÂs next for PNHC and Heronswood Garden? The PNHC Board met on June 11 to discuss its future.
George Ball, the President of W. Atlee Burpee & Company, may have left the impression that PNHC was unable to obtain the Heronswood site because we were unable to raise his final $2.7 million asking price. We want to assure you that this is not the case. Rather, the IRS has made it clear that, when a non-profit organization purchases a piece of property, an appraisal of the property value must be made by a qualified real estate appraiser; and that the price offered should be tied to the appraised value. At this time, Mr. Ball has not permitted an appraisal of the Heronswood Garden site. Based on comparable property values in the area, we estimate the value of the garden to be between $1 million and $1.3 million. It is not fiscally responsible, for PNHC to meet Mr. BallÂs request; paying significantly more than either our estimated value, or the county assessorÂs assessed value, or, eventually, the appraised value, would put PNHCÂs non-profit status in jeopardy.
We are still hopeful that Mr. Ball will understand our need for an appraisal, and that we can ultimately come to an agreement. Meanwhile, PNHC is studying other options, which could include working with an existing garden or starting fresh to create a research and education center and garden in the spirit of Heronswood Garden. We will continue to post updates on our website whenever we have news to share.
The PNHC Board will meet again this fall (or sooner, if warranted). Over the summer some operating funds will be needed, so contributions toward PNHC operations would be greatly appreciated.
Again, our thanks for all of the support Â both financial and moral Â that you have offered PNHC. We hope to have more news to share soon; in the meantime, please have a safe and wonderful summer.
Lee C. Neff, Chair
Pacific Northwest Horticultural Society