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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Lone Bidder Bids $1 for City Building

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Robert Maynard of Clarksburg submitted the lone bid on the former Clark Biscuit building on Ashland Street.
North Adams – Robert Maynard of Clarksburg has approached city officials with $1 and a plan.

Maynard submitted a $1 bid to purchase the former Clark Biscuit property on Ashland Street. The bid was opened before noon on April 26 at the office of city Finance Director Laura Cece. Maynard is also asking that the city grant him a one-year property tax exemption as a part of a purchase agreement. Maynard’s bid was the only bid received for the site. City officials have 30 days to consider and respond to the bid, said Cece.

Maynard, a real estate developer who lives at 365 West Road in Clarksburg, said he has more to offer the city and the property than just a single dollar bill.

A five-year site plan includes major renovations to the property and construction of condominium-style living units, he said. The plan includes creating 10 to 12 loft-style condos in each of the site’s two buildings and also building a number of single-level units in the structures. The construction would be high-end and he anticipates that the living spaces would be desirable, he stressed. The surrounding grounds would be significantly improved and beautified.

The project would unfold in a cyclic fashion; Maynard said he plans to initially develop two or three units, then sell the units, and use the sales revenues to build additional units. Building would increase as sales occurred, he said, and explained that a sale of two units could generate the construction of four additional living spaces. The sell-and-build pattern would continue until the project was completed, he said.

“This will be self-sufficient and it will pull itself along,” he said during an interview that followed the bid opening.

The renovation project would be of massive scope and expense, Maynard said.

“It’s a huge undertaking,” he said. “It’s overwhelming when you look at it.”

An unidentified person has expressed interest in opening an upscale lounge on the property as well, Maynard said.

Maynard offered praise for city Mayor John Barrett III and said that he would be open to discussing alternative housing options with city officials.

“I’m asking for the city to turn it over for one dollar and a one-year tax exemption,” Maynard said. “I have a five-year plan. But the whole thing would be done in conjunction with the City of North Adams.”

Maynard said proposals for elderly or other types of housing would be considered.

Maynard termed the old buildings and the property an “eyesore” as it now exists, and noted the beautification efforts of one nearby Ashland Street enterprise. He would like to set another example of responsible property ownership and possibly encourage other street residents and businesses to do the same, Maynard said.

“The Mayor has done a superb job in cleaning the city,” Maynard said, and cited the Center Street reconstruction project as an example of Barrett’s accomplishments. “There are many areas that you drive around that are visually appealing.”

Maynard owns several rental properties in the city and Clarksburg and described the sites as very well maintained. He has tackled renovation projects after purchasing other properties, and said that he holds himself to quality standards.

Maynard said that he plans to discuss certain proposal specifics with city fire department Director and Wire Inspector Stephen Meranti and city Building Inspector William Meranti.

Renovating the property likely means facing off with some winged squatters, Maynard noted.

“The pigeons have taken up residence and need to be vacated,” he said.

Susan Bush can be reached by calling 802-823-9367 or by e-mail at suebush123@adelphia.net.
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