Samaritan's Purse pursues Hayes Center
by Jeff Eason and Kellen Moore
Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse has submitted a $1,493,100 upset bid to purchase the Mariam and Robert Hayes Center in Blowing Rock.
The bid, filed Aug. 30, exceeds the former bid of $1.422 million from Wells Fargo bank. The bank was the sole bidder at a public auction of the property Aug. 21 at the Watauga County Courthouse.
“Samaritan’s Purse has made an offer to purchase the Hayes Center in Blowing Rock, which our organization hopes to use as a much-needed training facility, conference center and meeting space to support our relief and evangelism ministries around the world,” said Karina Petersen, media relations coordinator.
Samaritan’s Purse, based in Boone, has been in operation for more than 40 years. The Christian organization provides a multitude of services, including disaster relief help, medical missions, community development and the Operation Christmas Child program.
Staff and volunteers work in more than 100 countries, as well as across the United States, and they frequently travel to Boone for training and meetings, Petersen said.
“In the past, we used the Broyhill Inn at Appalachian State University, but since it is now closed to outside organizations, the closest facility to meet our needs has been Asheville,” Petersen said. “If we are able to purchase this facility, we would also at times make it available for special events for other Christian organizations and local churches that work to share the good news of Jesus Christ.”
The Hayes Center opened in August 2006 after being first proposed in 2000. The roughly $10 million building, which included a 348-seat auditorium, smaller theater-in-the-round, dressing rooms and meeting space, also was home to the Blowing Rock Stage Company until 2009.
It sits on about 4.5 acres off U.S. 321 in Blowing Rock.
The Hayes Center temporarily suspended operations in 2009 after a significant decline in revenue, and the board announced in February that the property would revert to Wells Fargo bank due to indebtedness.
The offer from Samaritan’s Purse initiates another 10-day upset bid period that ends Sept. 10. Any other individuals or companies that intend to make an offer must bid at least 5 percent more than the most recent bid.