A vacant half-acre lot in downtown Bath, formerly a YMCA, is up for sale again. Alex Lear / The Forecaster

BATH — The fate of a vacant lot at 26 Summer St., formerly home to a YMCA, could be decided later this year.

The city is soliciting sealed bids for the 0.59-acre parcel by Aug. 23. Bids will be opened at City Hall and read publicly at 5 p.m. that day, and staff could make a recommendation for the City Council’s discussion at its Sept. 4 meeting, Assistant City Manager Marc Meyers said July 9.

More information is available at cityofbath.com, or by contacting Meyers at 443-8330 or [email protected].

The former Y, occupied in its final days by the Bath Youth Skatepark and Meetinghouse, was demolished in January 2012. It includes a concrete structure that brings the lot to the level of Summer Street.

The City Council in 2017 heard two redevelopment proposals, but concerns from residents about the impact on downtown parking convinced councilors to shelve the matter.

“The property has remained on the city’s radar, even after the (request for proposals) process in 2017,” Meyers said. “We knew eventually we’d be revisiting what the city would like to do with that property.”

The city received an inquiry earlier this year from a party interested in purchasing the parcel, which triggered an interval review and the council’s July 3 decision to put the property back up for sale, but this time by bid.

“This is a real estate process,” Meyers explained. The property is to be sold by municipal quit-claim deed.

The highest bid would not necessarily be the winning one. The city can reject any offer, or accept the one it considers to be best for Bath. The city reserves “the right to negotiate additional terms and conditions as may be appropriate and in the City’s interest, with any particular bidder,” according to a notice posted on Bath’s website.

“I’d think anyone who’s bidding on the property would want to be prepared to answer the question of what they’re looking to do with the property,” Meyers noted.

Given the property’s location in the heart of the downtown, the city realizes there are many community members who have a vested interest in how it is developed, and “we want to make sure we’re going through this process in the best way possible,” he said.

Sitting across from Patten Free Library and Library Park, the parcel is worth about $242,000, according to the city assessor’s database. Since it is owned by the city, the property generates no tax revenue, but would go back on the tax rolls if it is sold to business or for-profit.

“I see this property as a tremendous opportunity for someone,” Meyers said. “(It’s) a dense city; there aren’t many vacant commercial properties like this, in particular in our downtown, that have so much potential.”

“It’s a shame to just see it sit and go unused,” he added.

 

 

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