Mohawk Theater Fails to Attract Bidders
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Mohawk Theater failed to attract even a single bid in this last request for proposals.
Bids were initially due on July 1 but then extended to Tuesday, July 26. The RFP, the third for the 1938 moviehouse, has been issued in early June and an open house attracted a handful interested bidders.
"We're not totally discouraged," Mayor Jennifer Macksey told the City Council on Tuesday. "We're a little disappointed, but we're going to take a pulse on the people who did our tours and try to figure out why there weren't any applicants."
She speculated it might have been the asking price of $100,000 for what is essentially an empty shell.
"We might have outpriced ourselves," the mayor said. "But again, I'm not going to give that building away. It's very important to us."
The city spent nearly two decades attempting to revive the moviehouse, a landmark location on Main Street. Theater has an assessed value of $437,000 but there is nothing inside. It has been vacant since 1991 and currently has no plumbing, heat or insulation, and limited electricity. The art deco interior has been completely ripped out and the roof is nearly 30 years old.
Fifteen years ago, it was estimated that it would take $1 million just to bring it up to code. The city has already invested about $2.7 million in grant funding to purchase all parts of the building, stabilize the structure and pursue several studies on reuse — none of which amounted to anything.
Requests for proposals were solicited twice last year after the council agreed to declare the building surplus property the year before. The first two rounds did attract a total of five bids, but only one was considered viable by the administration of then Mayor Thomas Bernard.
But his attempt to sell off the moviehouse for $21,000 for use as a multipurpose venue as part of a project to renovate the adjacent 103 Main into a hotel came to naught. The combination of a lame-duck mayor, a council angry at an attempt to cut it out of the approval process and a community that felt a beloved icon was being sold off cheap pushed the final decision to the incoming administration
Macksey killed the deal
almost immediately on entering the corner office and solicited community opinion
from residents who fondly remembered the moviehouse and its brief life as a theater. That feedback was to be incorporated into a newly written request for proposals released in June.
The mayor thought the process had been successful, saying there had been six viable candidates.
"We got a slew of questions after the open house, which was exciting," she said.
Macksey said her team had been talking a lot about the timing and the price, and would be following up with those who showed some interest. This could be an opportunity to look at other avenues or reissue the bid, she said.
"So while it's a little disappointing, it's not the end of the road for the Mohawk Theater," the mayor said. "This is just a sign, I think, of the climate and it's a sign for us to regroup. But again, we're not going to give that building away.
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