North Adams poised to sell salt shed to Berkshire County Construction

NORTH ADAMS — The city is continuing its efforts to shed property.

Mayor Richard Alcombright has proposed the sale of the Department of Public Works salt shed property on Ashland Street.

If approved by the City Council, which will take up the request at its meeting on Tuesday, the city would enter a purchase and sale agreement to sell the property for $50,000 to Berkshire County Construction.

The proposal comes as the city continues to consolidate its Public Services departments in a new headquarters on Hodges Cross Road that was purchased earlier this year.

Berkshire County Construction, owned by John Duquette Jr., and headquartered on Ashland Street near the salt shed property, would use it for storage, according to the proposal.

The company's offer came in well short of the property's appraised value of $125,000.

"We could put it back out, but I don't know that we're going to get more money. I've been encouraged by John as a business owner on Ashland Street," Alcombright said.

Under the plans for the Hodges Cross Road facility, into which the public services departments are still in the process of moving, the city will have room to store its salt and sand for winter road treatments inside, eliminating the need for a salt shed on Ashland Street.

The former Department of Public Works facility on Ashland Street was also put out to bid by the city, which is currently in negotiations with a prospective buyer, according to Alcombright. He expects to bring a purchase and sale agreement to the council for approval some time in September, he said.

As the city continues its process of renovating and moving into the Hodges Cross Road building, Alcombright said it may still need to use the Ashland Street salt shed this winter. Any such requirement would be worked out with the buyer prior to closing, he said.

"John has been a really good community partner with the DPW since I've been in office, so I have no worries about that," Alcombright said.

Berkshire County Construction was the only respondent to the request for proposals issued by the city earlier this year.

The proposed sale comes as Alcombright, whose term expires on Jan. 1 and is not seeking re-election, continues his long-stated goal to put city-owned property into private hands.

Last month, the city agreed to sell the Windsor Mill to architect Simeon Bruner for $400,000.

The Notre Dame Church, which unlike the other properties has historical preservation restrictions, did not receive any bids. However, Alcombright said the city has received some "knocks on the door" about the property and may put it back out to bid.

"The city will be very, very flexible with a buyer who can bring forward a project that will benefit the community, that will work well with the neighborhood, and could be completed in as reasonable amount of time," Alcombright said.

Reach staff writer Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376 or @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter


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