North Stonington Receives Interest, Solicits Proposals to Lease or Buy Ed Center | North Stonington
NORTH STONINGTON – The Selectmen board of directors has issued a request for proposals that would allow the purchase or lease of the entire North Stonington education center to a single organization after receiving correspondence expressing interest earlier this month.
The city’s elected officials voted unanimously to issue the request for proposals, which invites those interested to submit a provisional plan for the use of the center that would include a rental offer or a purchase price. Officials said the process was necessary to include a full bidding period, as required by state law, and would also allow the city to enter into negotiations with the interested party if it there is no other interest in the building.
“The reason is to make sure the process is fair,” Senior Selectman Michael Urgo said at a special hearing last Thursday and at a regular meeting on Tuesday. “A letter of intent was recently proposed to the city to take over the entire building, but such a request for proposals was never issued and was not announced, so this is the way to go. more appropriate to follow this process. “
The city has not identified the person or organization that submitted the letter of intent.
Urgo said the letter indicated that the interested party would like to use the building, located at 298 Norwich Westerly Road, as a whole, but indicated that there could be opportunities even if it is sold for the city to negotiate a sublet so that she can continue to use certain aspects. of the building, such as the use of the media center by the Board of Education.
With the request for proposals now in the process of being called for tenders, Urgo said the city would be able to consider leasing, selling or even entering into a hire purchase agreement if a suitable and mutually beneficial proposal were to be made. be presented.
Under the request for proposals, which was issued Friday and requires proposals to be submitted by 1 p.m. on June 4, if the building were to remain under lease, heating, electricity and other utilities will be chargeable. of the tenant. Renter will be responsible for providing their own insurance and any general maintenance and repairs.
Selectman Bob Carlson said last Thursday that if a potential buyer or tenant is identified, the wording of the request would allow the city to negotiate properly. He said it was important for residents to know that if an acceptable offer is made, any lease or sale would require the city to hold a formal meeting in order to gain public approval. The city currently has resident approval to lease only part of the building.
“I’m glad the wording reads ‘to a qualified bidder to lease or buy.’ If we were only looking for a lease first and then someone wanted to buy it, that would become a separate issue. That way we can’t get offers for either one, ”Carlson said.
He said the party that sent the letter of intent should bid and in that letter requested that any proposal also be submitted to the city for a town meeting.
The latest RFP could finally bring a resolution to the city’s quest to fill the space, which has remained vacant since the school board returned property to the city last summer.
The center, which is ceded to the city through the Wheeler School and Library, was turned over after the school’s renovation project was completed, and if the city retains ownership of it, it should that the building be used for educational purposes.
The city went to bid on the two-story part in December but received no bids. A few weeks later, Lighthouse Voc-Ed Center Inc. announced that it was not moving forward in seeking a lease for the one-story portion of the building.
The property is now listed on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) by IMT Realty, and the city created a six-member committee earlier this year to accelerate efforts to find an organization to occupy the space as the city sought. to put an end to the increasing maintenance costs for the property.
“It really is an ideal location for the city,” said Urgo. “It takes the responsibility away from us by giving us a scenario in which we can lighten the burden.”