(a) If, after investigation, the Department determines that it is in the best interest of the State that land be acquired, the Department shall proceed to negotiate with the owners of the desired land for its purchase.
(b) If the purchase price and other terms are agreed upon, the Department shall then submit to the Governor and Council of State the proposed purchase, together with a copy of the deed, for their approval or disapproval. If the Governor and Council of State approve the proposed purchase, the Department shall pay for the land and accept delivery of a deed thereto. All conveyances of purchased real property shall be made to "the State of North Carolina," and no such conveyance shall be made to a particular agency, or to the State for the use or benefit of a particular agency.
(c) If negotiations for the purchase of the land are unsuccessful, or if the State cannot obtain a good and sufficient title thereto by purchase from the owners, then the Department of Administration may request permission of the Governor and Council of State to exercise the right of eminent domain and acquire any such land by condemnation in the same manner as is provided for the Board of Transportation by Article 9 of Chapter 136 of the General Statutes. Upon approval by the Governor and Council of State, the Department may proceed to exercise the right of eminent domain. Approval by no other State agency shall be required as a prerequisite to the exercise of the power of eminent domain by the Department. Provided that when the procedures of Article 9 of Chapter 136 are employed by the Department, any person named in or served with a complaint and declaration of taking shall have 120 days from the date of service thereof within which to file answer. (1957, c. 584, s. 6; G.S., s. 146-105; 1959, c. 683, s. 1; 1967, c. 512, s. 1; 1973, c. 507, s. 5; 1981, c. 245, s. 1.)