OGDENSBURG — Parcel A at 17 Main Street will be sold through a request for proposal process rather than directly to mini-golf developer Nick Wright.
On Monday, Jan. 22, Ogdensburg City Council consulted with the city attorney regarding how best to sell the property which is complicated due to the fact it was sold and being repurchased from the buyer. In the end the attorney recommended the sale via RFP.
“Following consultation with the City’s Attorney, and in the essence of time, the City Council has directed the immediate publication of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to advance the sale,” a press release from the city said. “The RFP is expected to be published by close of business today, January 23, 2024 with a deadline for responses of 2 PM EST on Friday, February 16. City administration will then review responses, with the goal that a recommendation will be made for City Council for consideration at its regular meeting of February 26, 2024.”
A complicated matter
At the heart of the issue is an attempt by the city to meet the needs of two separate developers interested in parcels at 17 Main Street while honoring a 2022 RFP that divided the property into two parcels which were to be sold to separate businesses.
The parcel was divided into parcels A and B.
Under the agreement parcel A was sold to Billy Hosmer for $10,000 for his River Street Brewing Company venture. Although the purchase moved forward, Hosmer found an alternate location and as included in the RFP contract, Hosmer is now selling the property back to the city for the same price.
In the same RFP parcel B was slated to go to At the Docks, a business venture owned by Chris Frary, however no similar stipulations were made on parcel B and At the Docks never moved forward to purchase the property.
A tale of two projects
Complicating matters is an interest from entrepreneur Nick Wright, who recently shared plans to build a mini-golf and family fun center at the 17 Main Street property.
He had hoped to purchase both parcel A and parcel B.
However, due to the existing RFP the city indicated that it intends to move forward with the sale of parcel B to At the Docks.
The company plans to erect a storage facility for docks and it is part of a larger development plan by the company which has also indicated potential refurbishment of the former Ramada Inn.
Because parcel B was never purchased by At the Docks the city is now working with the company regarding the stipulations of the sale.
Although details are still being worked out, Mayor Michael Tooley said he would like to see the sale take place by May 31 with construction to begin within two years from the sale date.
Although the majority of council expressed interest in a swift and direct sale of parcel A to Wright, legal questions surfaced.
An executive session was held following the meeting Monday although details regarding the decision were not shared in the release, Tooley indicated that the RFP process was the best way to expedite the sale, according to the city attorney.
On Monday, Deputy Mayor Dan Skamperle expressed multiple times that he wanted to see both projects move forward.
He sought to reassure At The Docks and Wright that the city would do everything within its power to expedite the process.
Wright said he was pleased with the decision by the city to sell parcel A via the RFP process, but said has some questions about the city’s handling of parcel B.
He said that from a business perspective, he believed the RFP from parcel B was “a bit flimsy” and he’d like to hear the city speak publicly on the matter. However, he said he is happy to see support and quick action from the city regarding parcel A.
Wright says that if he’s successful in obtaining the parcel it will be big enough for the course he intends to build, but it will present problems with parking that he is hoping the city will help him address.
Although the RFP process will speed up a potential sale, it could also bring rise to competition for Wright as other entrepreneurs could submit RFPs for the parcel.
Wright, an Ogdensburg native, said that although he expects the project to be successful, a major factor in the decision to build here rather than his current residence in Maine, is to give back to the city where he grew up..
“I believe Ogdensburg needs the project more than southern Maine does,” he said.