Nags Head examines unresolved issues with His Dream Center

By on June 9, 2023

Distinctive SAGA-owned building appears largely deserted

His Dream Center once functioned as a home for various community groups and nonprofit organizations. (Photo credit: Neel Kelelr)

In the past two months, the Nags Head Board of Commissioners has gone into closed session twice with the town attorney to discuss the property known as His Dream Center, located at 205 E. Baltic Street. While Nags Head Town Manager Andy Garman did not disclose the details of those discussions to the Voice, it is clear that there are unresolved issues, apparently involving litigation, with the property owned by SAGA Realty & Construction.

“There is still some ongoing discussion back and forth between the parties, so nothing was resolved today,” Garman told the Voice following the second closed session on June 7. He confirmed that the Town of Nags Head has “several different” lawsuits against SAGA “sort of related to the zoning violation…obviously it’s multifaceted…They’re working on a resolution, so hopefully it doesn’t have go any further.”

The architecturally unique and distinctively hued His Dream Center—once used as a car museum and later as a space for community and nonprofit groups—was purchased by SAGA Reality & Construction in 2017. SAGA set up the real estate limited liability, company “205 Baltic, LLC,” four months before purchasing the building in that company’s name.

In an interview with the Voice shortly after that purchase, SAGA CEO Sumit Gupta said he wanted to continue to use the facility as a “community hub.” In September 2018, he told the Outer Banks Sentinel that plans were on track to open in the following summer. But the building has generally appeared vacant and dormant ever since the purchase, and SAGA is currently using it “as a building contractor’s office,” according to Garman. The Dare County GIS currently lists the “property use” of 205 E. Baltic Street as a “vacant commercial building.”

“At one point they had talked about turning that into like a performing arts center, and they’ve talked about some other uses there as well,” Garman said, such as a venue for weddings and other events, and studios for artists and makers. “But, again, I think they have to figure out the right business model for them.”

The site’s current use as a building contractor’s office is a permitted use of the building, apparently in contrast to past uses.

“Now, we had had some code enforcement issues with them going back several years,” Garman said, adding that “that aspect of it has been resolved.” He declined to reveal specifics, as that was a closed-session matter. “Essentially it had to do with what they were permitted to do versus what they were doing.” he said.

Gupta did not respond to several Voice requests for an interview for this story.

After the building was constructed in 1976, Outer Banks entrepreneur George Crocker used it as a car museum starting in 1986, and 10 years later, North Carolina Assemblies of God purchased the building. In addition to use as a church the building served as a hub for local nonprofits and community organizations—Ruthie’s Kitchen, OBX Room in the Inn and Dockside Theatre Company—for the next two decades. It also provided space for weekly meals and events for the international students living and working on the Outer Banks for the summer through the U.S. Department of State’s J-1 Visa program.

His Dream Center was listed for sale for $1,600,000 in March 2017 and SAGA bought it for $750,000, according to the article in the Voice.

Town of Nags Head records show the issuance of a remodel permit on Aug. 3, 2018, with SAGA Construction, Inc. listed as the contractor. It is unclear if the remodel ever took place.

In July 2020, SAGA submitted a pair of applications to Nags Head. One that would approve furniture stores as an allowable use for all commercial mixed-use designations was passed by the commissioners. Another to allow real estate rental management facilities to be a permitted use in that zoning district was defeated. A few months later, SAGA sought permission to convert His Dream Center into a building contractor’s office and a furniture store.

“I think that the owners of the building have explored a variety of different things for that property, and they’re still continuing to figure out what the best use of the property is, and so they’re looking at what’s allowed by our ordinance,” Garman said. “They’ve had some things they were excited about but for various reasons they haven’t followed through with those things.”



Comments

  • Czarina

    Based on previous articles about Saga, this is typical. For some reason they have a plethora of money to spend, but then don’t utilize or update the properties. Using them as tax write-offs?

    Friday, Jun 9 @ 11:52 am
  • Travis

    They got it for a bargain basement price at $750K. Given the explosion in real estate prices and the location, it has to be worth 2 or 3 times that now, not including the building.

    Being a nostalgic sort of fellow, I’d vote for turning it into something like the old Nags Head Casino.

    Friday, Jun 9 @ 1:33 pm
  • Steven

    SAGA Destruction..

    OBnoXious

    Saturday, Jun 10 @ 6:48 am
  • Victoria Mance

    I would like to suggest his dream center be turned into an inside marketplace/flee market where individual vendors rent space and sell their goods whatever they might be. My husband and I travel to Philly quite often and they have The Reading Terminal Market which has brought huge revenue to their city. It has been a huge success. It would be nice seeing the city and its residents working together on a project like this. Just a thought.

    Saturday, Jun 10 @ 7:27 am
  • The Captain

    It’s SAGA. Say no more. Money, Money, Money. I’m sure their Lawyers are working on a way to turn the property into high return housing. They have absolutely no interest in running any “People” related business. Look at the Weeping Radish property which they said would be refurbished and reopened. Ha, Ha, Ha. What are they going to do when the Towns get wise and start denying them their requests? Yea another joke!

    Saturday, Jun 10 @ 8:36 am
  • M Baker

    Who doesn’t need a safe Storage Unit?

    Saturday, Jun 10 @ 8:49 am
  • Dan

    Gotta be one of the ugliest buildings in OBX – tear it down

    Saturday, Jun 10 @ 9:08 am
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    C’mon Dan, it’s unusual, but kind of fun.

    Saturday, Jun 10 @ 9:37 am
  • Dan

    Very unusual! Kinda looks like a Mosque – keep expecting to hear the call to prayer when I go by there.

    Saturday, Jun 10 @ 10:20 am
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    So looking like a mosque is a reason to destroy the building, even as it was once used for Christian faith-based events?

    Saturday, Jun 10 @ 1:55 pm
  • obx ron

    Which is it: It is listed as a “vacant commercial building” but is use as “a builder contractor’s office.”
    Does anyone else think there is something fishy about this space?

    Saturday, Jun 10 @ 2:35 pm
  • Kitty Hawker

    Litigation here, litigation in Edenton, is anyone really surprised? No – butt yet the “old style” cottage court monstrosity in KDH continues to be built. Can’t see what the do next!

    Saturday, Jun 10 @ 5:21 pm
  • Muhammad Bin Al Thani Balooshi

    Dan, thanks for your lack of tolerance. I hope that one of my Muslim Brothers with the means to do so purchases this property, converts it into a Mosque and then you can hear the beautiful call to prayer regularly. PRAISE BE TO ALLAH.

    Saturday, Jun 10 @ 9:15 pm
  • NH Resident

    People are quick to complain but the reality is the property is owned by a for profit company. The long-term value is in the 6 to 8 buildable residential lots underneath. Even at 6 lots that was $125,000 each, between the highways with direct beach access off Baltic. I suspect the Town keeps pushing and you’ll see the building removed and home construction begin…

    Monday, Jun 12 @ 8:13 am
  • Steven

    NH Resident,
    I’ll bet you they will not be homes, they’ll be houses..

    Monday, Jun 12 @ 10:33 am
  • Pj

    Uh-Oh! That lot has cluster housing written all over it. NH beware! This lot could be the start of the dreaded cluster homes and mini hotels spreading south as KDH slowly but surely runs out of space. All those cozy NH family homes will start coming down one by one and before you know it will be like KDH where the beach road has become a dismal alley full of overflowing garbage cans every 5 feet from May thru October.

    Monday, Jun 12 @ 1:45 pm