The College made a move to acquire the Longfellow Elementary School property, detailing its proposal in a Nov. 30 letter to Town Manager Gary Brown.
The town initially approached the College about a year ago regarding the potential land acquisition.
In the letter, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Katy Longley detailed the College's interest in obtaining the 2.5 acre property, located at 21 Longfellow Ave. adjacent to the south end of campus.
At a December 6 Town Council meeting, Brown and Councilor at Large Joanne King stated that the council would not be openly discussing the letter until next year. Brown said that their intention was merely to "publicly acknowledge the reception of the letter."
Longley wrote that the College was willing to offer the town $2 million for the Longfellow property, more than double the most recent appraisal price of $990,000. The College proposed to pay this sum over a period of three years—$1 million upon closing and two annual payments of $500,000 to follow.
A second option, which Longley described as "less attractive" to college administrators, involved the transfer of the McLellan Building to the town in exchange for the Longfellow property. The McLellan Building, completed in 1999 and located at 85 Union Street near Maine Street Station, houses administrative offices and art facilities.
In comparison to the estimated value of $990,000 for the Longfellow site, the McLellan property was appraised at $4,620,000 earlier this year.
While the College was open to the possibility of such a transfer, Longley wrote that the College hoped to retain control of the building until 2014. Longley also requested that the College retain access to the building's third floor art studios at no cost until 2019.
Brown explained that the proposal to transfer the McLellan Building "would probably take care of [the town's] capital facility needs for a very long time."
"If we were to do the exchange, I anticipate the town would use the [building] for general government space and council chambers," said Brown. "What takes place in [the current municipal building at 28 Federal Street], minus the police, along with some other outer buildings, would be consolidated in McLellan."
The proposal letter is only one step in the ongoing negotiations between the town and the College regarding the Longfellow property. Longley noted at the beginning of her letter that Brown initiated the discussion with College administrators "about a year ago."
"At Monday's [Town Council] meeting, I indicated that this was the second worst-kept secret in Brunswick," said Brown. "I've had to be somewhat discreet in my responses because we had been discussing with the College in a confidential manner."
At that December 6 meeting, Brown and Councilor at Large Joanne King also stated that the council would not be openly discussing the letter until next year. Brown said that their intention was merely to "publicly acknowledge the reception of the letter."
"The council will probably come to a decision on which of the two options—and there is a third option to do neither—sometime in the next three to four months," said Brown on Thursday.
"We believe that this will generate a lot of communication," added King.
President Barry Mills described the College's role in the negotiations as that of a "passive participant" during the faculty meeting on Monday, affirming that the town had approached the College about the Longfellow property. Mills said the property would be "valuable" real estate to the College, adding that the College would "probably, likely" acquire the property.
While potential uses for the site are yet to be determined by the College, Longley wrote that Bowdoin expected the Longfellow property "to be zoned to allow for all College uses other than student residence halls."
"I don't think it'll be a residence hall," said Mills, acknowledging that faculty and staff members live on Longfellow Ave.
Regardless of the outcome to the continuing negotiations, Brown explained that the mutual interest and open discussion regarding the Longfellow property demonstrated the strong working relationship between Bowdoin and Brunswick.
"This is another example of the close relationship that the town has with the College," said Brown. "It's another chapter in the book of this relationship. Even if this doesn't end up working out, we will continue to work well with the College."