ROCKPORT — The committee tasked with exploring development options for the former Rockport Elementary School site at the intersection of Routes 1 and 90 may recommend that the Rockport Select Board reopen the project to new contractors and potential bidders. The RES Redevelopment Committee received one proposal for the property by an October deadline.
“The committee will recommend to the Select Board at its next meeting that the RFQ process be reopened for about six weeks,” said Doug Cole on Dec. 13. Cole serves on the RES Committee along with fellow Select Board member Debra Hall.
Cole said that at a Dec. 12 organizational meeting the RES Committee did not discuss the one concept proposal for the 7.6 acre parcel, which was submitted by Douglas Clayton. Instead the committee appointed Amanda Dwelley as its chair and Eric Boucher as vice chair.
Clayton’s proposal calls for converting the former RES property into “Rockport Crossing,” a mixed-use residential, commercial and recreational site. In a 16-page proposal received by the town in October, he described placing refurbished cabins on the property which would be marketed as senior living facilities. Other plans include a commercial business complex, a farmers market and a recreational area.
“It should be emphasized that the envisioned buildings are not soulless strip malls, but rather individualized two-story constructions designed to create a traditional ‘Main Street’ look such as one might encounter in the nicest parts of downtown Freeport or Nantucket,” reads the proposal, adding that Phi Builders would construct the buildings to evoke a “New England-village look,” wrote Clayton.
Clayton owns the lot at 330 Commercial Street, which was once an automotive dealership but has recently been referred to in signage as “Rockport Center.” There is currently a bridal gown shop renting a storefront at the site, and on Oct. 24 Clayton appeared before the Planning Board to outline plans for possibly turning that property into subdivided residential housing and/or a long term parking facility.
Consultants on the project are Phi Builders and Architects, Gartley & Dorsky Engineers and Camden Law; Phi Builders and Gartley & Dorsky are involved in constructing the new Rockport Library, Gartley & Dorsky is the firm employed by Stuart and Tyler Smith to construct a five-story hotel at 20 Central Streety in downtown Rockport.
Town Manager Bill Post said Clayton will be invited to present his proposal and answer questions from the committee at their next meeting on Jan. 30 at 5:30 p.m. at the Rockport Opera House. This will also be the first meeting of the committee which will be LiveStreamed so residents can watch the proceedings remotely.
“The committee is recommending to the Select Board that the RFQ be opened again for other parties to submit proposals and recommended a new deadline of Feb. 28. This recommendation will be presented to the Select Board at the Select Board’s Jan. 13 meeting,” said Post on Dec. 13.