FAIRFIELD — Locally based Sheridan Corp. is the winning bidder for the $4 million project to transform downtown’s historic Gerald Hotel into residential housing for low-income seniors.

Suzanne Walsh of the Kennebec Valley Community Action Program, the planned owner of the property, said Thursday the closing is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 16.

Walsh said Sheridan submitted the lowest of six bids, which were opened last week, but the cost of alternative building options made it unclear whether it was the winner.

Even now, she said, there are still a few details of the project that haven’t been determined, so the actual contract amount, estimated at $4 million, hasn’t been set.

In lieu of a contract, the company has been given an order to proceed, which Walsh said identifies the company as the winner of the bid without locking into a specific amount.

“They can start lining up subcontractors but they won’t actually begin construction yet,” she said.

Town Manager Josh Reny said the project, expected to begin immediately after the closing, has the potential to have a major impact on downtown, which has several vacant storefronts.

The hotel was built in 1900 and was named by Maine Preservation in 2007 as one of the state’s endangered historic buildings.

“It’s going to bring a lot of workers into the downtown and we’re just really anxious to see what the building is going to look like when the work is done,” he said.

Developers hope to convert the hotel into 28 living units in time for people to begin moving in during fall of 2013.

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling — 861-9287
[email protected]

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