With one bid so far, GSA still remains upbeat about interest in McIntyre building

Auction ‘still in its early stages,’ says agency official
Mcintyre Building

With only one bid so far on the auction of the federal building in downtown Portsmouth — and that at the minimum amount of $5 million — the General Services Administration remains upbeat about its sale.

As of July 10, the auction site for the Thomas J. McIntyre Federal Building at 80 Daniel Street in downtown Portsmouth had recorded one bid — $5 million offered on July 1.

Bidding on the building opened June 20.

“While there is only one bid currently, this is not unusual as the auction is still in its early stages,” said Paul Hughes, the GSA regional public affairs officer. “GSA continues to receive significant interest in the property.”

Online advertising by the GSA on media sites in the region tout the property as a “one of a kind opportunity in ‘the most scenic area of Portsmouth.’”

Those interested in bidding are required to register in advance and submit a $1 million registration deposit. The starting bid is $5 million and bid increments will be $50,000.

Names of bidders are not listed on the auction site.

There is no close date for the auction as of yet.

“Every property is different,” said Hughes. “There is no established timeline for GSA’s online auctions. Based on the level of interest, we fully expect to continue to receive bids on this property. The bid activity will determine the length of the auction.”

The GSA manages federal property and provides contracting options for government agencies. Among its responsibilities is unloading surplus properties.

The particulars of the McIntyre Building online auction can be found at: realestatesales.gov.

“Once the auction closes, and a winning bidder is determined, the property will go through the normal real estate closing process. Once that is completed, the name of the winning bidder will be disclosed,” said Hughes.

The city’s assessed value of the property is $12,082,700. The GSA has indicated it won’t accept anything less than fair market value for the property and retains the right to “reject any or all bids for any reason.”

Asked if the GSA would even entertain a bid for the minimum of $5 million, Hughes answered: “Based on the level of interest, we fully expect to continue to receive bids on this property.”

Developer Michael Kane of The Kane Group in Portsmouth, along with partner Redgate of Boston and in conjunction with the city of Portsmouth, tried to purchase the property for $1 and develop it as a public-private partnership. But that plan ultimately fizzled, lawsuits were filed by Redgate/Kane and the city, each accusing the other of acting and negotiating in bad faith.

He has not commented on whether he would make a bid on the property via the auction.

Hughes was asked if he thought the pending lawsuit involving Redgate/Kane and the city might be having a dampening effect on the bidding, and he simply answered, “No.”

The parcel lies within the Downtown Portsmouth Historic District, which means any proposed project has an additional layer of review by the city’s Historic District Commission on top of any Planning Board or Zoning Board of Appeals approvals it might require.

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