Cleanup costs for former public works building estimated at $263,000


NORTH ADAMS — For the first time, city officials have a clearer picture of environmental cleanup costs at the former Department of Public Works headquarters.

Mayor Thomas Bernard received word Tuesday from Cumberland Farms, which is set to buy the Ashland Street property known as City Yard, that remediation is estimated at about $263,000.

The city and Cumberland Farms agreed to split the costs of the environmental work as part of the purchase and sale agreement they negotiated last year, with City Council approval. Given the current estimate, that would subtract about $131,500 of the city's proceeds from the sale.

The agreed-upon sale price was $575,000, with the caveat that the city and Cumberland Farms each would contribute up to $287,500 toward cleanup costs.

The communication from Cumberland Farms comes after Planning Board approval Monday evening of the company's plans for a new convenience store and eight fuel pumps. "It's a soft number, in the sense that this is all based on estimates and until they actually do the work," Bernard said.

The mayor noted that, given the current estimate, the city stands to rake in about three-fourths of the total sale price.

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"I didn't know what to expect," Bernard said. "What I was sort of hearing between the lines in the [previous] communication that I did have was that [the cost] was minimal."

Concerns about environmental contamination was the lone sticking point as the city looked to offload the Department of Public Works facility at 227 Ashland St., which it no longer uses after purchasing a new facility on Hodges Cross Road last year.

Cumberland Farms jumped at the opportunity when the city listed the Ashland Street property for sale in a request for proposals, and plans to replace its current location at 70 Ashland St.

The company has three locations in North Adams, more than any other retailer.

More than the actual final sale price, former Mayor Richard Alcombright, who negotiated the original purchase and sale agreement, and Bernard have stressed the value of bringing a city-owned property back into private hands and reaping the commercial tax revenue.

Adam Shanks can be reached at, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-629-4517.


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