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August 07. 2014 6:39PM

Police HQ sale? It would be good news

Manchester taxpayers, keep your fingers crossed that the latest deal for the city’s old police station goes through.

Aldermen on Tuesday signed a preliminary agreement to sell the old Chestnut Street police station for $875,000. It is the second such deal. Almost a year ago, the city signed an agreement to sell for $1.3 million. The prospective buyer, Quincy, Mass., developer The Grossman Companies, backed out after examining the building.

Now the deal is $875,000, with the city paying $205,000 to make updates, such as rerouting fiber cables. That brings the profit down to $670,000, minus any agent commission. Aldermen put the building on the market for $2.1 million in 2012, which shows what they know about selling real estate.

That $2.1 million asking price was never remotely realistic. The head of the commercial real estate firm hired to market the building said in January 2013 that selling the building was “going to be a challenge.”

The department was built in 1977 specifically to be a police department, and it shows.

The idea that the city was going to get millions for the building was never realistic, which Mayor Ted Gatsas pointed out at the time. He argued for a lower asking price, but the aldermen did not listen.

The longer this building sits empty, the more it costs taxpayers. There are maintenance costs and lost tax revenue from the building remaining off the tax rolls. Unloading it now for this price would cut the city’s losses and add to its revenues while landing a good chunk of one-time cash. Let us hope the sale goes through.


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