The deadline for potential developers to bid on the former Wilton Tannery grounds has been extended to May, with the hopes of attracting an offer to buy the land.

Selectmen voted 3-0 Tuesday night with two members not present to extend the original bidding deadline from Jan. 2 to May 1.

The decision comes in light of the town receiving no bids on the U.S. Route 2 property since it was first offered for sale in November.

Interested developers will need to propose a plan for the site to the Wilton Selectboard, which will consider all proposals and decide on the best one.

Town Manager Rhonda Irish said the original bidding period was set for only five weeks, which included the holiday season. The new deadline of May, said Irish, gives developers more time to consider a proposal and gives them the opportunity to see the land after the snow melts.

The town advertised the property both locally and around New England, including an advertisement in the New England Real Estate Journal. Irish said she is not sure if the selectboard will decide to advertise the site again between now and May.

The tannery site was recently cleared of contaminants under a federal Brownfields program and the land was cleared as safe for redevelopment.

Federal funds paid to clean up the 15-acre site with leather scraps left over from the tannery gathered up and buried on site with an EPA-approved cover system safely containing the material underground.

The spot where the material is buried is off limits to excavation, but contractors said a developer would have other options for that part of the lot, such as building a parking lot, as long as they don’t need to dig for the project.

The tannery at 822 Route 2 was built in 1959 and was previously known as Wilton Tanning and Kroy Tanning, according to a property listing on the Greater Franklin Development Corporation’s website. The building has been vacant since 2003.

Any future developer will need to demolish the former Wilton Tannery building that still stands on the property. The town rejected paying the estimated $40,000 cost of tearing down the building before offering the land for sale.

According to an advertisement for the land, the site is zoned for commercial use and has potential for some type of outdoor recreation business because it is bordered by Wilson Stream.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252

[email protected]