LAWRENCE — Mayor Daniel Rivera’s search for a new headquarters for city schools stalled when he rejected offers from six landlords who responded to his advertisement seeking to lease 42,500 square feet of space.
Rivera began his search for a new home for the School Department’s central office shortly after taking office in January, saying the lease on the Essex Street building adjacent to City Hall that the department had occupied since 1988 was unaffordable. This year, the lease will cost the city $359,464 in rent, about $100,000 for utilities and another $21,000 for the $55,000 property tax bill that the city will share with the landlord.
The lease Rivera is seeking also would house four other city and regional agencies that now rent space in scattered locations, including the Planning and Community Development departments, which are housed in other rented space on Essex Street.
Eight of the city’s most prominent landlords responded to Rivera’s initial request for proposals for a three-year lease. Their offers ranged from $9 to $18 a square foot.
The landlords included Carmine DiAdamo, who owns the building at 255 Essex St. that now houses the School Department; Marianne Paley Nadel, an owner and the manager at Everett Mills at 15 South Union St; and Gary and Chet Sidell, who own Bell Tower South at 60 Island St.
Two other landlords — Sal Lupoli, who owns Riverwalk Properties on Merrimack Street, and Eric Markarian, who owns the Essex Street building that houses the Planning and Community Development departments — were disqualified because they dropped off bids hours after the deadline on April 7. The two would be allowed to resubmit their proposals in the second round.
Rivera would not say why he is reopening the search for rented space, saying any comment might jeopardize the city’s defense against a lawsuit DiAdamo has filed against the city on the issue.