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BOBO v. CITY OF SPARTANBURG

December 31, 1956

J. S. BOBO ET AL., APPELLANTS,
v.
CITY OF SPARTANBURG ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Legge, Justice.

December 31, 1956.

Appellants, citizens and taxpayers of the County and City of Spartanburg respectively, seek in this action a declaratory judgment as to the validity of an agreement between the City of Spartanburg and Spartanburg Center, Inc., a private corporation, whereby it is proposed that the city convey to Spartanburg Center, Inc., a portion of the public area known as Morgan Square in exchange for certain real estate owned by Spartanburg Center, Inc., and sell to that corporation another portion of said Morgan Square. Appeal is from the decree of the circuit court upholding the agreement.

By deed dated September 21, 1790, Thomas Williamson conveyed to the Justices of the newly created County of Spartanburg two acres of his land, upon which the county buildings had been erected. The county ceased to exercise control or dominion over this area when the City of Spartanburg was incorporated in 1831; and since then the city has continuously treated it as its own. The county buildings were removed from it more than a century ago. Now in the heart of the city, it has for many years been used as a public square and for the movement and parking of vehicular traffic. West Main Street traverses the southernmost portion of it; West Dunbar the northernmost. Near its western end stands a monument honoring General Morgan, of Revolutionary fame; and it is generally known as Morgan Square. Extending eastward from Morgan Square to North Church Street, and lying between West Dunbar on the north and West Main on the south, is property of Spartanburg Center, Inc.

By Joint Resolution of the General Assembly approved February 25, 1954, XLVIII Stat. at L. 2503, which recited the abandonment by the county, the exercise by the city of control and dominion since 1831, and the desire of both city and county that title be vested of record in the city, the County Board of Spartanburg County was directed to execute and deliver a quit claim deed on behalf of the county conveying to the City of Spartanburg all of the right, title and interest of the county in and to the Morgan Square area; and such deed was thereafter executed under date March 19, 1954, and delivered.

On February 27, 1954, pursuant to a resolution of its city council, the City of Spartanburg entered into a written agreement with Spartanburg Center, Inc., whereby:

1. The Company agreed to convey to the City certain property on the west side of North Church Street, certain property on the north side of West Main street, and certain property on the south side of West Dunbar Street, aggregating in area 4,741 square feet; and the City agreed to convey to the Company, in exchange therefor, a portion of Morgan Square having the same area and lying to the west of the buildings fronting on the east side of Morgan Square; and

2. The City agreed to convey to the Company, for the sum of $41,200.83, a portion of Morgan Square containing 2,985 square feet and lying to the west of the portion to be conveyed to the Company in the exchange before mentioned.

The agreement was expressly conditioned upon:

(a) Enactment by the General Assembly of necessary legislation authorizing and directing the conveyance by the County of Spartanburg to the City of all right, title and interest that the county might have in and to the properties proposed to be conveyed by the City to the Company;

(b) Decision by the Supreme Court of South Carolina, in a proper suit, upholding the validity and legality of the contemplated conveyances;

(c) Receipt by the Company of binding and definite commitments for long-term leases from tenants who will occupy the new building or buildings to be erected by the Company on its retained property and the property to be conveyed to it by the City;

(d) Receipt by the Company of a binding and definite commitment from lending institutions to advance the necessary funds with which to finance the construction of the new building or buildings;

(e) Submission to and approval by the City Council of the type and design of the new building or buildings ...


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