Special to the Independent
Mayor Carlo DeMaria will officially seek proposals from interested parties to purchase or lease the Old High School. Since being declared surplus property last year, the Mayor is again entertaining options for the semi-vacant building issuing a new Request for Proposal (RFP.) The Boys and Girls Club of Everett currently operates out of the newer section of the building and the field-house operates as a working fitness center for the city, as well as a practice facility for local sports teams.
Since the original round of proposals were denied by the Mayor’s Surplus Property Committee late last year, the Mayor decided to wait until spring to put together another Request for Proposals hoping for a favorable development and construction market. The committee, comprised of local residents, Mayor’s office staff, Elected Officials and local construction company owners, rejected all previous proposals and the Mayor agreed with their decision.
“This is a building with many memories for a lot of people,” says Mayor DeMaria, “we’re hoping a proposal will come to us that has multiple benefits, for the neighborhood, for the city and for our future.” The Mayor has often noted his hope to keep the field-house and upgrade the facility to include a fully functioning wellness center, gym, and light office space.
The new version of the Request for Proposals asks potential developers to address a number of neighborhood and city concerns, including parking relief, short term benefit to the city and long term projections for the city. Mayor DeMaria will reconvene the committee after the bid opening and is hoping for a wider selection of proposals.
Recently the city has seen some activity at the Old High School, where Columbia Pictures is filming the latest Kevin James movie “Here Comes the Boom.” Columbia Pictures paid the city $17,500 in rental fees to use the school as a production set. While the Mayor is excited to have a Hollywood production right in the heart of Everett Square, he is also concerned about the neighborhood impact.
“A project like the movie, coming in for a week is very tough on the residents, and I appreciate their patience and their understanding,” says Mayor DeMaria, “Everett, especially in our more industrial areas is hosting a few feature films and we’re happy to have them here. However, while the old field-house is great for the movie industry, this location is not the most convenient for all involved.”
The Mayor welcomes the industry to other parts of the city but notes the impact of using the old high school is tough, given lack of parking for the large trailers and the extended hours of use.
“Having the movie here is a great nod to our progress in Everett, however it doesn’t sell the building,” says Mayor DeMaria, “we need to talk to developers about the best use of the site, because whatever comes of the building needs to fit an extensive criteria of possible uses.” Mayor DeMaria is committed to evaluating the best fit for the city and is hoping future developers will share his vision.
“This is a great opportunity for us to keep on track, keep moving forward. While this is only a first step, we’re heading in a great direction and I look forward to the responses.”
Responses to the RFP are due to the City on June 22.