Rumford board to solicit bids for former Linnell Motel property

The nearly 5-acre site of the former Linnell Motel on Prospect Avenue in Rumford is being put up for sale by the town. The town took ownership of the fire-damaged motel, center foreground, and had it razed but left the two buildings at lower left. Submitted graphic

RUMFORD — The Board of Selectmen is expected to approve a draft for a request for proposals for the former Linnell Motel site at 986 Prospect Ave. on Thursday.

The town acquired the property years after it was damaged by fire in 2015. The highway department recently razed it but left two buildings at the back of the 4.77 acres.

“We’re at the point where we need to decide what to do with the property,” Town Manager Stacy Carter said at the May 6 board meeting. “This is really a prime commercial site. The current marketing of properties is currently way up.”

He said the town values the property at $259,000.

About $22,000 is owed in property taxes and $3,500 for sewer fees. Demolitions cost the town $18,000.

“One option is to deal with a Realtor and sell it,” Carter said. “With that option, that’s exactly what happens. You turn the property over, just like when the last person bought it, there’s no way of knowing the time frame or what’s really going to go there.”

Economic Developer George O’Keefe proposed the town do the same as it did with the Clough & Pillsbury building at 109 Congress St. and request proposals, Carter said.

“That way the town has some say as to what we allow to go there, what the price is and most importantly, what the time frame is,” he said. “That’s really a prime spot there and we should try to get as much as we can, and more importantly, select somebody that is going to provide a tax base and preferably some job opportunities in a timely fashion.”

Carter said he will get the site appraised “so that when we put it out (to bid), we can set a minimum of what we’ll accept.”

O’Keefe said, “I would encourage you to put yourselves in the driver’s seat on what happens with this parcel. …There are at least two extremely serious local investors who have different ideas of what to do with this. They’ve already approached me. In fact, I was approached within seven days that this property was tax acquired by interested parties.”

Board Chairman Chris Brennick made a motion to get the property appraised by a Realtor and to get ready a draft RFP for their May 20 meeting.

Brennick said his estimate for the process would be 90 days from May 6, to try to have all the bids ready for a vote at the Aug. 5 board meeting. That would leave about a 60-day window from when the request for proposals go out.

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