“There is a group of potential developers here looking at it as a mixed-use facility,” Murray said. “They already see the potential, and, of course, we can make it available.”
Murray said the uses of the building — purchased by the city in 2002 and setting off a firestorm of opposition by members of the community — has many possibilities, and the group looking at the facility Thursday deals with condominium mixed-use.
“But they are still looking at it. They have people that they take it to,” Murray said. “They come up with the ideas, and then they have people they can sell the idea to. And because banks aren’t doing any financing anymore, they go directly to people who are doing development, and they sell it off in chunks, which is smart. For instance, you have somebody who wants to do homeowner condos; you have somebody who wants to do rental units; and you have somebody who wants to do kiosk retail or something else. So it has a lot of potential.”
Murray said development of the building would help get people downtown, which she believes would lead to redevelopment of the downtown area.
The city purchased the Marting’s Building for $1.9 million in 2002 from the Marting’s Foundation and at one point planned to spend an estimated $5 million to renovate the building to house city offices.
That renovation would have increased property taxes by $100 for each $100,000 of property value for 15 years. However, voters in the city of Portsmouth rejected the proposal.
The building has sat empty since being purchased by the Greg Bauer administration.
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