The Town of Cheshire is issuing this Request for Proposals (RFP) for the reuse or redevelopment of the former Cheshire Elementary School, located at 191 School Street, Cheshire, Massachusetts. [PDF]

Responses to the RFP must be returned to the Town Clerk's Office, 80 Church Street, Cheshire, MA no later than May 1, 2018 by 3:00 PM.

The former Cheshire Elementary School building property was closed at the end of the school year in June 2017. The Town is interested in making the vacated property available for reuse or redevelopment by interested organization(s) or individual(s). The Town shall retain a yet to be determined portion of the building and the Adams Cheshire Regional School District currently leases a portion of the building to house its District business operations. This will not be a public opening.

The RFP will be available from the Town Clerk's Office, Cheshire Town Hall, 80 Church Street, Cheshire, MA 01225 during normal business hours. It will also be available for download from the Town of Cheshire website at www.cheshire-ma.gov

Responses to the RFP must be returned to the Town Clerk's Office, 80 Church Street, Cheshire, MA no later than May 1, 2018 by 3:00 PM. Responses to the RFP received after this date and time will not be accepted. In the case where Town Hall is closed for weather related or some other emergency related circumstance, then submittals shall be due the next day when Town Hall reopens for business, no later than 3:00 PM on that day. The Town shall not incur any costs for the preparation of the submitted proposals for the Town's review.

The Town of Cheshire presents this RFP in the solicitation of use/reuse ideas and implementation strategies for the former Cheshire Elementary School property. Parties with an interest in using the property are encouraged to respond to this RFP.

The Town of Cheshire will not consider the information submitted through the RFP to be binding on the respondent or the Town. There will be a site tour of the Cheshire Elementary School building, 191 School Street, Cheshire, MA on April 17, 2018 at 12:00 PM. All interested parties shall meet at the Cheshire School using the main entrance.

The purpose of the RFP is to:

1) Determine specific uses for the property;
2) Gauge the appropriateness of proposals received and determine if those proposals are compatible with the Town's best interests.

The Town of Cheshire is seeking all viable proposals for use/re-use of the former Cheshire Elementary School and facilities. If an appropriate use/reuse can be identified, the Town will consider granting a short-term rental, or long-term lease.
 
I. INTRODUCTION

The Town of Cheshire is pleased to issue this Request for Proposals for the rental, lease or purchase of the former Cheshire Elementary School building, or portions thereof, located at 191 School Street in Cheshire, Massachusetts. The 61,600 square foot, single story building is a prominent structure located in the center of Cheshire. The prominent location and development potential of the Cheshire School building and grounds create an attractive prospect for an innovative development firm or a private or nonprofit enterprise.

The Town will welcome proposals that will utilize a portion of the building or the building in its entirety. The Town will entertain responses that include a long-term lease of the property or portion(s) thereof, a ground lease, or a combination.

The Town currently leases portion of the building (approximately 20,000 square feet) to the Adams Cheshire Regional School District for its District Business operations. The Town wishes to maintain access to and use of the exterior grounds of the property including, but not necessarily limited to its playing and recreation fields and playground structures. Furthermore, the Town may wish to retain a yet to be determined portion of the building for municipal use.

Specifically, the purpose of this RFP is to:

• Determine viable interest of proposers in the purchase/lease/re-use of the Cheshire School building or portions thereof;

Any party with an interesting and compatible idea for the redevelopment, reuse, operation, and programming of the Cheshire School building is encouraged to respond to this RFP. No decisions about entering into a lease agreement with a party will be made until the completion of the RFP process; date of which has not yet been determined.

Respondents are encouraged to propose economically viable programmatic concepts and ideas for the reuse of the building. The Town is open to consideration of all creative and economically viable concepts that are consistent with the Town's recently completed Master Plan (available on the Town of Cheshire website). The Town is committed to facilitating reuse/redevelopment of the Cheshire School building and will cooperate with the chosen organization, development team, or other combined entity to the greatest extent possible. However, redevelopment schemes should not place disproportionate requirements on municipal resources.

 


II. BACKGROUND

The Town has particular interest in the reuse of the Cheshire Elementary School building, a prominent structure in Cheshire. The school property is centrally located at 191 School Street just off of Route 8). With over 17,000 vehicles daily, the Route 8
 
corridor serves as the main connector between Pittsfield (south) and North Adams (north). The building's regional accessibility and proximity to both commercial and residential areas within Cheshire makes the site a prime location with high visibility.

The Adams-Cheshire Regional School District School Committee voted to close Cheshire Elementary School and consolidate its students at the Plunkett Elementary School in Adams. Accordingly, the Cheshire School was vacated at the end of the 2017 school year.

Location •· Overview
The Town of Cheshire, Massachusetts is located in Berkshire County in the northwest corner of the Commonwealth. Berkshire County is renowned throughout the Northeast for its beautiful mountain vistas, charming towns, and pastoral farms. Tourists flock to the area to experience the Berkshires' unique combination of scenic beauty and high quality cultural attractions. Located approximately 3 hours from both Boston and New York City and bordering states of Vermont, Connecticut and upstate New York, the Berkshires are a natural draw for some 2.5 million visitors from the New England region and beyond. . ...


Car Travel: The Massachusetts Turnpike (1-90) provides Interstate highway access about 20 miles south of Cheshire in Lee. Route 2, about nine miles north of Cheshire, provides east-west access to 1-91 and Boston to the east and 1-87 in Albany to the west. Regional routes that run through Cheshire include state Routes·8 and 116. Route 8 extends from the Vermont border through North Adams and Adams to Pittsfield to the south. Route 7, which parallels Route 8 and runs in a north-south direction, connects Berkshire County with Bennington, Vermont to the north and Litchfield County, Connecticut to the south.

Air Travel: Local airports are: North Adams Harriman-West Airport (.15 minutes via auto), Pittsfield Airport (30 minutes), Albany (NY) International Airport (90 minutes) and Bradley (CT) International Airport (90 minutes). Albany and Bradley are served by most major airlines.

Rail Travel: Guilford Transportation runs a rail line east/west with a north/south commercial freight rail spur from the Adams Corporate Park through North Adams. Amtrak and CSX offer passenger service, running east/west through Pittsfield.

Bus Travel: Bus transportation is available in Cheshire from the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority (BRTA), which delivers fixed route bus service along Route 8, connecting Cheshire to the other communities spanning Berkshire County from Great Barrington to Williamstown. Several bus stops are located within the downtown.  [Please view the PDF for full text]