Falmouth near decision on winning bid for school properties

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FALMOUTH — After several meetings in executive session, the Town Council is nearly ready to announce a winning bid for two school properties on Lunt Road.

The Lunt and Plummer-Motz properties were put on the market in August 2011 after voters in June rejected a $5 million bond that would have moved Falmouth Memorial Library to the Lunt School, made Plummer available for lease and converted Motz to a community center.

The announcement of the winning bid was initially scheduled for Tuesday, but was delayed after another council executive session Monday night.

“Tonight the council requested staff work out several additional details, which will require consultation with the town attorney,” Theo Holtwijk, the town’s director of long-range planning, said in an email Monday night.

The announcement of the winner was rescheduled for next week and a public hearing to hear residents’ comments on the winning bid is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 23.

While the decision about what to do with the two school properties has been a divisive one, Town Manager Nathan Poore said he is confident the council will reach consensus on the winning bid.

While Poore would not say how many bids the town has received, two different bidders have come forward with information about their bids.

OceanView, a retirement facility that neighbors the school properties, submitted at least two bids for the buildings and has expressed interest in having a community center on or near the property for its residents to utilize.

Also, Redfern North Atlantic presented a plan for a mixed-use project that would convert some of the buildings to residences, others to retail and commercial uses, and establish a “Town Green,” where events and farmers markets could be held.

The company’s bid, announced in November, includes spending $13 million to build a small deli and farmers market; would convert the Plummer building to an office building; provide the town the option of using the Motz building as a community center; create a town green that could later be deeded back to the town; an apartment building, townhouses and single-family homes.

Developers Jonathan Culley and Jed Harris, both of Falmouth, would not say at the time how much they offered the town for the properties.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @emilyparkhurst.

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