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Photo by Alan Scafuri. The old police station at 104 East Middle St.

Photo by Alan Scafuri. The old police station at 104 East Middle St.

The Chelsea City Council now has two bids to buy the old police station building, and is expecting a third.

At its Tuesday night, Sept. 10 meeting, the City Council voted 4-2 to set a bid deadline of 10 a.m. on Sept. 20 for any additional offers and then discuss them at its Sept. 24 meeting.

Council Members Rod Anderson and Dustin Suntheimer lobbied to extend the offer deadline, but the majority of the City Council felt that since the building had been on the market for 14 months, serious bidders have had plenty of time to step forward with an offer.

Currently, there are offers of $50,000 and a $75,000 on the table, both of which are well below the building’s $108,000 appraisal, which was done several years ago.

“With increased interest in this property,” Sutheimer asked, “Would it be shooting ourselves in the foot by closing the bidding in 10 days?”

City Manager John Hanifan again told council members that the city doesn’t have a great history when it comes to being in the real estate business by reminding them of how long it took to sell the Buchanan building and that the Longworth property is still sitting vacant without a buyer.

“What’s the benefit to the city?” Anderson asked of the tight window for offers. “Ten days is not a lot of time to put a bid together. The initial bid is less than half the appraised value of the property and to get a realistic purchase price, perhaps we should have a 30-day deadline.”

Council Member Marcia Parker said that that in her experience, with more than 30 years in real estate, that “waiting is not the best option. Put a deadline on it and anyone interested can step forward with an offer and there can always be contingencies.”

She said the building is a commercial property, “it needs commercial money and perhaps private funding as well.”

Council Member Frank Hammer had an excused absence from the meeting

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