McIntyre Building bids due by Sept. 27

Only 1 bid so far for the 2.1-acre site, but time still remains to submit

The General Services Administration (GSA) has chosen a due date for bids on the Thomas J. McIntyre federal building — a 107,000-square foot, 2.1-acre, National Historic Places property near the waterfront with a two-tier parking garage — in downtown Portsmouth for Sept. 27 at 9 a.m.

The GSA describes the deadline as a “soft close” — a mechanism used frequently in online auctions to extend the bidding if a bid is placed in the last minutes of the auction.

To date, there remains only one bid for the property: $5 million from an unnamed bidder made on June 20.

The GSA says it is undeterred, both by the fact that there is only one bid and an effort by the Portsmouth City Council to acquire the property for workforce housing with the help of a Washington, D.C., law firm and an old federal law.

“While there is only one bid currently,  GSA continues to receive significant interest in the property,” said Paul Hughes, GSA regional public affairs officer for the New England region.

As for the recent efforts by the Portsmouth City Council, Hughes said, “We do not anticipate any change to the auction process.”

Hughes was asked by if the GSA is obligated to accept the single $5 million bid, if indeed it remains the only bid at the close of the auction.

“At the close of the auction, the high bid will be considered for acceptance by the government. The government reserves the right to accept or reject any or all bids,” he said.

In 2003, on behalf of the city of Portsmouth, then Republican U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg drafted legislation that required the GSA to turn the McIntyre building over to the city. This was to be a trade-off of sorts.

The idea was that the GSA would replace its aging building in downtown Portsmouth with a new structure to be built at the nearby Pease International Tradeport. But that never happened.

In the meantime, there was a public-private effort involving the city and a local developer to jointly buy the building for $20 million and redevelop the property for mixed use of commercial and residential. But that effort, too, never came to fruition, and the property went on the auction block.

Hughes said the government is intent on seeing the auction sale through. “GSA has no plans to remove this property from the public sale process,” he said.

In a statement, the GSA encouraged that there is still time for those interested in bidding to register and submit bids with the following provisions:

  • Those interested in bidding are required to register in advance and submit a $1,000,000 registration deposit.
  • Bid increments will be $50,000.
  • Potential bidders are invited, urged and cautioned to inspect the property prior to registering and submitting a bid.

For additional information, and to view a virtual tour and video of the property, prospective bidders are encouraged to visit the auction website and read the invitation for bids.

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