NORRIDGEWOCK — The town has issued a request for proposals for redevelopment of the vacant fire station on Main Street.

Proposals for the purchase and redevelopment project are due no later than 4 p.m. July 21. Town Manager Richard LaBelle will begin reviewing proposals on July 24. The RFP seeks interested developers for the site at 70 Main St., which was the town’s fire station from 1960 until 2016, when a new station was built elsewhere on Main Street.

Redevelopment of the vacant fire station is one of the targets of the town’s Tax Increment Financing Advisory Committee, which aims to give recommendations on how to spend TIF money to revitalize the downtown area. The committee has developed a set of criteria for what it would like to accomplish with the TIF district, which allows municipalities to capture revenue for municipal development projects from the tax value of those improvements. Norridgewock’s TIF district is centered around the Summit Natural Gas Pipeline.

TIF committee members will begin to review proposals they receive at a meeting to be scheduled within 10 business days of the deadline date for submission.

LaBelle had said the committee wanted to focus on the downtown area primarily, especially in terms of aesthetics, though the TIF extends beyond that. LaBelle said the committee was aiming at the area around U.S. Route 2 and Route 139. The site of the old fire station is about 250 feet west of that intersection.

The committee’s criteria for the RFP fall into three parts: the ability to strengthen the community both economically and aesthetically; investment needs, meaning will the project be funded privately or require TIF expenses; and the credentials of the applicant. The RFP, which was approved by the town’s Board of Selectmen, must contain a cover letter, a description of the proposed development, a description of the developers involved with their work history, a budget, a market study or other information about demand for the proposed space, a description of the economic benefits that will follow, a description or renderings of aesthetic improvements to the building, and a proposed time frame.

The town hasn’t sought a formal appraisal of the old station, and as of April 1 it was assessed at $37,100.

The selected developer will be required to enter into a contract with the town.

LaBelle will conduct a preliminary review of the proposals and then make recommendations to the TIF committee on completeness and responsiveness of the applications.

The committee will review proposals deemed complete and responsive. After that, the committee will make recommendations to the Board of Selectmen, which ultimately will make a decision on the developer. The committee also might decide which potential developers may come to present to the town.

According to the RFP, the goal is to have a developer chosen as soon as possible and to develop the site starting no later than spring 2018. An anticipated timeline in the RFP has the committee reviewing proposals on or before Aug. 4, and the Board of Selectmen choosing the developer by Sept. 20 and then negotiating the terms of redevelopment and closing on the land sale by Oct. 18, though the timeline states these dates are subject to change.

It is hoped that revitalizing the vacant building will boost economic growth downtown. Voters at this year’s Town Meeting gave the Board of Selectmen approval to sell the old fire station, and LaBelle has said the committee is open to pretty much anything in terms of the building’s redevelopment.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

filed under: