EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

April 9, 2013

Bradstreet School project gets new life

NORTH ANDOVER — A few weeks ago, the effort to sell the former Bradstreet School on Main Street to a developer appeared to be in grave danger, if not dead.

As of yesterday, however, the project appears to be alive and kicking. Town Manager Andrew Maylor told the selectmen last night five developers have submitted proposals for the vacant structure at 70 Main St.

Several months ago, the town sent out its first request for proposals for the former school, which was closed in 2005 after nearly a century of service. Only one developer, the Coalition for a Better Acre, of Lowell, submitted a plan.

The Coalition initially proposed demolishing the former school and constructing a building with 5,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor and 24 affordable apartments on the upper levels. Several people objected to tearing down what they regard as a historic building.

So the Coalition revised its proposal and submitted a plan that called for putting 12 affordable homes in the former school and erecting two adjacent buildings, each with 12 low-rent apartments. The commercial space was eliminated and that doomed the plan, which the selectmen rejected Feb. 25.

The board also voted to send out another request for proposals. This time, five developers, including the Coalition for a Better Acre, responded. The other developers are Oakgrove Residential, Boston; RCG LLC, Somerville; Water Street Retail LLC, Haverhill and Hearthstone Realty Corp., Andover.

Maylor said Assistant Town Manager Ray Santilli, Facilities Manager Stephen Foster and Community Development Director Curt Bellevance will review the proposals to see if they comply with the selectmen’s requirements.

The board has specified that it wants to see at least some commercial development of the property. The 2012 Annual Town Meeting voted unanimously June 12, 2012, to authorize the selectmen to sell the former school.

Local officials estimated the town spends about $40,000 per year to maintain this unused building.

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