Tuesday, June 6, 2017

City of Holyoke Announces Termination of Lynch School Purchase Agreement with Frontier Development

On Tuesday, June 6, Mayor Alex Morse informed Frontier Development, LLC that he would be terminating the purchase and sale agreement for Lynch School. The termination is due to Frontier’s inability to timely obtain the necessary permits as required by the agreement. Originally signed on November 5, 2014, the purchase agreement outlined a timeframe that required Frontier to reach certain permitting benchmarks.

The city had granted Frontier two extensions during the Permitting Phase, the most recent being on December 5, 2016 and ending on June 9. While Frontier had sought a further extension, they were not able to produce a tenant or clear timeline to obtain permits.

“I thank Frontier for their efforts to develop this site. However, after more than two years since signing the agreement, there has not been sufficient progress. This decision is made in the best interest of the city,” said Mayor Morse.

Originally declared available for sale in 2010, the 2014 RFP process was the first to generate interest, with Frontier being chosen after careful consideration. The city plans to issue a new Request for Proposals (RFP) in the coming weeks. Per the agreement, the city will retain all of the reports and studies commissioned by Frontier. This information will be included as part of a new RFP, which will be a benefit to potential developers.

“Since we have been under agreement with Frontier, we have not been able to respond to other potential developers who have shown interest in the Lynch Property. My office will be working closely with the Purchasing Department to aggressively market the RFP in an effort to yield the best project possible,” said Marcos Marrero, Director of Planning and Economic Development.

Most uses will require a zone change, which will require 10 votes from the City Council. Frontier had originally requested a zone change that would have allowed for a CVS Pharmacy to be developed. They eventually withdrew their proposal when it seemed there was not enough support.

Another issue that had been raised was whether the building should be returned to the School Department. However, assessment of the building proved it would be more beneficial for private investment.

“Recently I hosted a tour for city officials so they could see the condition of Lynch firsthand. After the tour and a review of the school building assessment commissioned by the Massachusetts School Building Authority this year, it is clear that Lynch is not viable for city or school use,” said Mayor Morse. “I look forward to working with the Council to ensure that we bring a project forward that will benefit the city,” Morse added.

Please contact the Office of Planning and Economic Development for more information about the Lynch School site: 413-322-5575.

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