NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – The Northbridge Board of Selectmen received just one bid in a request for proposals for a building or buildings that could be modified to fit the needs of the Department of Public Works.
That bid came from Douglas Road Associates LLC, 371 Douglas Road, for $995,000. It is a 19,000-square-foot building in a central location that meets all other specifications in the request for proposals, Town Manager Theodore Kozak said. Kozak opened the bid Friday at noon with DPW Director James Shuris and Building Inspector James Sheehan.
Town officials looked at the Douglas Road property as an option to replace the current DPW facility on Fletcher Street about two years ago, but its price was considered too high. The price was lowered around the same time the cost of redeveloping the Fletcher Street site was revealed.
HKT Architects conducted a feasibility study that showed the DPW could stay at the current site despite its proximity to the Mumford River, but pegged the cost of redevelopment at $8 million.
Selectmen agreed an $8 million proposal was not likely to get a favorable vote from taxpayers, so instructed the Building, Planning and Construction Committee to look for other options.
In addition to the Douglas Street property, garages on Linwood Avenue were also discussed as an option, but the owner of that property did not respond to the request for proposals.
An article on the Oct. 23 fall annual town meeting asks voters to purchase property and buildings for a DPW headquarters. Whether the purchase has the support of selectmen and the Finance Committee may hinge on the cost to modify the building that Shuris has said will need a thicker floor with drainage and higher and wider vehicle doors.
Shuris expects to have the cost of modifying the building to his needs for the Building, Planning and Construction Committee at its meeting on Oct. 4.
The Oct. 23 town meeting article only addresses purchase of a building. Money to fund modifications would have to go before voters at afuture special election or the spring town meeting in May.