Superintendent Frederick Foresteire told the School Committee Monday night that the Devens School renovation is essentially completed and the district is now awaiting the final certificate of occupancy and inspection permits from city and state officials with authority over the building rehab.
With that, Foresteire asked the Committee to approve a lease with the building’s owner, developer Anthony Casano, so that the School Department can begin to prepare for occupancy in the building this fall.
According to Foresteire, the lease has been negotiated with the City Solicitor Colleen Mejia and school attorneys, as well as counsel for the developer.
Essentially, the lease will allow the School Department to treat it as one of their own building, in virtually every way, including all maintenance and utility costs, with the school department even being responsible for tax payments to the city, since the building will not legally belong to the schools.
The School Committee did question whether the estimated annual tax payments of “less than $15,000 per year” are accurate, given that the building has been improved since through the rehabilitation and the value of the building may be increased in its next assessment.
However, Foresteire noted that the arrangement with the developer will hopefully spur the city government to move more quickly to purchase the building sooner.