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A new request for proposals for the Notre Dame property and Heritage State Park will be issued this fall.

North Adams Putting Properties Back Out to Bid

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff
01:11AM / Monday, August 17, 2020
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city is putting two prominent properties back on the market after prospective purchasers fell through. 
 
Notre Dame Church and School and Western Gateway Heritage State Park will be among other properties the city will be trying to sell off over the next year.
 
Mayor Thomas Bernard informed the City Council at last week's meeting that both proposals had been given extensions but that the sales were no longer feasible. 
 
"We're going to be going back to the drawing board," he said.
 
The sale of Notre Dame had been approved two years ago to Square Office LLC for $253,000. The City Council had approved the  purchase based on plans to invest $18.5 million to transform the property into a hotel. Western Gateway Heritage State Park had been under contract with the Extreme Model Railroad and Contemporary Architecture Museum for $1.2 million in 2017.
 
Bernard had informed the Redevelopment Authority in March that, after several extensions, the city had offered an updated option that EMRCA has not countered or executed. 
 
"I can't speak for the train museum but there is not an option currently with anyone on that property," he confirmed to the City Council on Tuesday.
 
MassDevelopment is requesting proposals for its Real Estate Technical Assistance Program, Bernard said. "And we believe that Heritage State Park is a prime candidate for helping to market and promote that property."
 
The city is closing in on deals to sell Johnson School; a proposal to turn the school building into high-end apartments had been approved a year ago with Moresi & Associates with the anticipation of closing this August once Head Start's lease had expired. 
 
The Pownal, Vt., watershed land is also under contract but there are some deed and boundary issues to clarify, the mayor said.
 
The discussion came during an update by Zachary Feury, project coordinator in the Office of Community Development, on plans for the disposition of city properties. 
 
Feury said the mayor's office and Community Development have engaged MassDevelopment "has proven to be a highly valuable resource" in how the city's properties can be leveraged. North Adams has about 200 properties but those not being used are drain because they generate no revenue and require maintenance and insurance. 
 
"The city must move to strategically return these non-essential properties to the private sector," Feury said. 
 
Requests for proposals are being prepared for the park, Notre Dame, Sullivan School, Windsor Mill and the salt shed, all of which have had previous RFPs and/or been under contract. Added to this list will be the Mohawk Theater, which caused a great deal of consternation when the idea was broached last year.
 
These should be issued in October with the expectation that proposals will be reviewed in December. 
 
The updated "RFPs may serve to establish an expedited deadline for executing a purchase and sales agreement," Feury said. They will also require disclosure of the applicants prior experience with related projects and information on how the projects will be financed. 
 
A small auction of properties taken in tax title is planned in October as well and a larger auction in the spring. 
 
The former Jarisch Paper Box Co. land on American Legion Drive will be added to the sale list once it is declared surplus by the City Council. 

Tags: land sales,   RFP,   

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