Bidding on remaining Iron Works land is explained
The first round of bids on Catasauqua’s Iron Works property will be due in June.
At the borough council’s March 6 meeting, Chad Helmer of Taggart Associates explained the bidding process for the remaining acreage at the borough’s Iron Works site.
“We don’t have the option of selling the property as a private owner might,” he said. “We will send out our criteria. If we receive a bid that meets our minimum requirements, we will accept the bid. If we don’t receive a bid that meets the minimum requirements then we will rebid the project.”
According to borough Manager Eugene Goldfeder, the minimum bid price for the remaining 10.9 acres is $650,000.
“We set the price based on the costs we incurred purchasing the land from FL Smidth, our legal and carrying costs and the amount we spent on 440 Front St.,” he said.
There are other requirements in the bid other than price.
“We have certain requirements on how the property needs to be developed,” he said. “The zoning was changed to ensure that we get the best mix of uses for the project.”
In describing the bid process, Goldfeder indicated if a bid is received that meets the minimum standards, the borough is required to accept it.
“If a developer meets the criteria, we must accept it,” he said after the meeting. “It makes no difference who the developer is.”
If no acceptable bids are received after two tries, then the borough is free to negotiate with vendors or turn it over to the county redevelopment authority.
“There are legal concerns if we negotiate with selected vendors,” he said. “We could be accused of favoritism and have this drag on in courts for years. We will look for guidance from our solicitor if the problem arises.”
Councilwoman Christine Weaver, who has been council’s liaison for the Iron Works project, explained the first bidding cycle, which has now been advertised. A prebid conference is scheduled for April 13.
“We will take interested parties on a tour of the property at the prebid meeting,” she said.
Bids from round one are due back to the borough by June 23.
“We have 60 days to act on any bids we receive,” Goldfeder said.
If a second bid process is needed, it will be advertised toward the end of July.
Goldfeder indicated after the meeting there are developers interested in the project.
“We don’t know that they will be able to meet the requirements, or they could say that the minimum bid price is too high,” he said. “We won’t know any of that until we start the bid process.”
The municipal building under construction on the remaining Iron Works acreage continues to move forward. Goldfeder took members of council on a tour of the building earlier in the evening.
Weaver indicated the project is close to schedule. The revised date for substantial completion is now set for July 7.
“We could vary from that schedule, depending on a lot of factors, but July 7 is a date the contractors feel they can meet,” she said.