ROCKPORT — Following a 20-minute executive session Sept. 21, the Rockport Select Board emerged and voted, 5 to 0, to order Town Manager Rick Bates to sign a lease letter of intent and return to the October Select Board meeting for the final approval of that lease.
The lease of the empty office building at 485 Commercial St. (Route 1) is to temporarily house the Rockport Public Library for an initial two years while the town decides where and how to best situate the library, its 32,000-book collection and the seven full- and part-time employees.
The landlord is Blue Aqua Corporation, of Delray Beach, Fla., and the space is 5,028 square feet. Built into the lease is an option to renew three times, at one-year increments.
The base rent is $34,800 annually, which is $2,900 monthly.
The first renewal term is $2,900 per month, and the second and third renewal terms stipulate $2,900 per month, plus any real estate tax increase from 2015 forward.
The town will pay for all utilities as well, including snow plowing, lawn maintenance, furnace repairs and property insurance.
What to do about the library and its space has occupied the town for several years. Early in the summer, a town-commissioned engineering report concluded that existing library, built in 1949, needed extended maintenance. Another study concluded that the library should occupy a 9,000- to 11,000-square–foot space to optimize its programs. The existing library, at the corner of Russell Ave. and Union St., in Rockport Village, is approximately 3,000 square feet in size.
By the end of the Sept. 14 meeting, concern over the air quality for library patrons and staff, and the opportunity to negotiate a commercial lease for the Route 1 building, drove the board to its decision to schedule the Sept. 21 executive session about the lease.
The four-year costs associated with this temporary library relocation, for approximately 32,000 books and the library staff members, is $291,120.
The building at 485 Commercial Street was former offices of International Marine book publishers. It has been on the market for $899,000. Offices are in front of the building and a large space in back has offices on either side of the center space. The interior layout consists of six offices, one conference room, one receptionist office, kitchen, four restrooms, a large waiting area, furnace room, storage room on the second level and two electronic rooms for telephone/ computer equipment.
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