By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Clinton Whitmore Mansion offer by city still being considered by bank
Placeholder Image
The city of Ceres and Bank of America are still in negotiation about a possible sale of the Clinton Whitmore Mansion, reported City Attorney Mike Lyions last week.

The Ceres City Council was updated about negotiations in a July 23 meeting closed session.

"There is not much to report," said Lyions after coming out of closed session. "We're still negotiating."

"We'll probably consider month to month continuances of that if there is a short sale offer that they are interested in considering. We're still awaiting some word on our offer. We expecting to hear word in the next two to three weeks."

The city offered BofA $375,000 for the historic home and grounds which has been used as an event center.

The owners of the home, Cary and Nancy Pope, are being foreclosed on and the city's offer caused BofA to postpone an intended sale date of July 17 to Aug. 17.

Operated by the Whitmore Mansion Foundation, the mansion and its grounds are rented out for weddings, private parties, company gatherings, community events and regional government socials. But the economy has affected revenue to pay the mortgage.

Whether the city ends up owning the property or not, the council is in process of rezoning a weed-filled portion of the mansion property for park uses. The city would like to buy the southern part of the Whitmore Mansion property for an eventual green strip or park. The land was approved in 2008 for construction of a 30-unit Victorian Village senior apartments. The project required $6.2 million in funding through Stanco, a non-profit affordable housing corporation, but never materialized.

The Clinton Whitmore Mansion is one block north of the Daniel Whitmore Home, which is owned by the city as the historic first residence ever built in Ceres.

The 8,000-square-foot mansion was built in 1903 by Clinton Whitmore, the son of Ceres founder Daniel Whitmore. Clinton Whitmore was instrumental in the formation of the Turlock Irrigation District. The house remained in the Whitmore family until Robert and Edna Whitmore sold it in 2005 to Cary and Nancy Pope. The mansion was remodeled in the 2007 Community Hospice Interior Design Showcase. In 2009 a foundation was formed to oversee its operation.

The Ceres City Council decided on May 29 to proceed with an offer despite believing that the offer is a long shot.

The Popes paid $1.3 million for the mansion property in 2005. City officials said the Popes have an unpaid balance of $850,000 on the BofA mortgage and there is a second and third loan of $350,000 and $75,000 respectively.

Lyions said the council feels $375,000 is an appropriate offer "given the decline in property values."