GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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January 8, 2013

City opens door to sale of I-4, C-2

Minimum RFP bid set at $681K

GLOUCESTER — The mayor’s office is “cautiously optimistic” that a revised Request for Proposals for the city-owned I-4, C-2 lot will attract serious applicants for the waterfront development property that was vacant for four decades and has remained so even after the city’s 2010 purchase of the site.

Most notably, the revised request would allow bidders to either buy the property or lease it for up to a 99-year term — a dramatic departure from the city’s initial request for proposals that would only allow a developer to lease the site, and ultimately failed to get a single development bid.

While the revised request makes no mention of a required rate of tax revenue requirements, a buyer or lease must still submit a $10,000 down payment to bid and show thoroughly detailed plans for a project that would use at least 50 percent of the lot for water-dependent work, thereby meeting the constraints of the state’s Designated Port Area (DPA) mandates that cover the lot.

“We are cautiously optimistic that the inquiries will translate into firm responses,” Mayor Carolyn Kirk said.

The revised request for proposals — or RFP — requires City Council approval before being out for bid. But Councilor and downtown businessman Joseph Ciolino said Monday that he, too, believes the revisions could attract serious applicants to the 65 Rogers St. lot.

Ciolino said the previous offer of shorter-term leases, with no purchasing option, caused investors to shy away. He also said he understands that the revisions have already drawn in one serious applicant, though he could not divulge further information on that interested party.

“You’ve got to give them the opportunity to decide one way or another, Ciolino said, “but the city is doing its part. We’re at the point where you have to try whatever it takes in this economy to market the property.”

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