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LYNN – The city is once again looking for developers to transform the former Thurgood Marshall Middle School into affordable senior housing.
In mid-May, the city issued a Request for Proposals (RFF) for the vacant and dilapidated building at 19 Porter Street. This is the third request for proposals for the property. The last two attempts to sell the building have failed.
Through this tendering process, the city is looking for a developer to purchase and redevelop the property into affordable senior housing for those 55 and over. The RFP does not place a limit on the number of units, saying only that development must comply with local zoning requirements.
Unlike the first RFP, which aimed for a minimum sale price of $ 4 million, this particular document does not establish a minimum bid requirement. However, a potential bidder would receive a higher score on the evaluation criteria for an early closure of the property, according to the document.
While the city only received two bids for its latest tender – which were ultimately rejected as non-compliant due to developers saying it took several years to secure the funding to purchase the property – six bidders Prospects have already requested a copy of the latest document, according to Deputy City Attorney James Lamanna.
“I do not anticipate that an offer received will be rejected as not conforming to this go-around,” Lamanna said. “It remains to be seen whether Lynn’s school committee and city council find a valid and acceptable offer. “
Built in 1923 and vacant since 2016, the old school building has drawn the wrath of city officials in recent years, as it has been the scene of multiple fires and is often the target of vandalism. Another challenge for potential developers is the cost of asbestos removal.
For example, the city received an offer of $ 4 million for its first tender, but as a condition of the offer, the city reportedly incurred the cost of the demolition, which was then estimated to be over $ 2 million. dollars.
As a result of a study into the property’s asbestos reduction, the estimated cost of demolition rose to between $ 8 million and $ 10 million, forcing the city to reject the offer, Lamanna said.
“(The) $ 4 million offer wasn’t really $ 4 million if we were to spend $ 2 million to make the sale happen,” Lamanna said.
The sale of the property has also been delayed in recent months due to an ongoing debate between the city and the school committee, the latter traditionally wishing to keep the property in order to bank the land for a potential new school. However, the city wanted to secure the land to meet what authorities say is a need for affordable senior housing.
City Council, its RFP subcommittee, and school committee ultimately agreed to work together on this particular RFP, which relieves the city of any liability for any potentially hazardous material on the 152,554 square foot property.
Proposals must be submitted in a sealed envelope or package to the City Purchasing Department, Room 205 at 3, Town Hall Square by 11:00 a.m. on Monday, July 12.
Any proposal must be approved by the city council and the school committee, both of which have the right to reject any proposal for any reason.
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