Former Fall River police station could provide 30 new apartments

The City Council’s real estate subcommittee on July 30 unanimously approved a $10,000 purchase and sales agreement to convert Fall River’s old police station on Bedford Street into apartments. The council of a whole will take up the measure on Aug. 11.
City councilman Leo Pelletier is seen here at a real estate subcommittee meeting speaking with Marc Lederman, who is interested in converting the former Fall River police station into 30 market rate apartments.

FALL RIVER – Matthew Thomas isn’t tooting his own horn, but he thinks the $10,000 purchase and sale agreement to convert the old police station on Bedford Street into apartments is a sound one.

“I think it’s a pretty good P and S agreement,” he said Monday.

Thomas, who has a law office in New Bedford but also provides real estate-related legal advice to municipalities including Fall River, Seekonk and Swansea, discussed the purchase and sale agreement last Thursday night with the City Council’s real estate subcommittee.

The three-person subcommittee voted unanimously to approve the agreement and send it to the council of a whole, which will take up the measure on Aug. 11.

If the City Council approves the agreement it will go to the desk of Mayor Paul Coogan for his signature.

The redevelopment and “adaptive reuse” of the old police station, which has sat dormant for more than two decades, would result in 30 market rate apartments, Thomas said.

He said the request for proposal issued by the city included a preference that the four-story building not be demolished.

Thomas, however, said the only party responding to the RFP said it would be financially untenable, and instead agreed to utilize a technique known as a “facadectomy” — wherein the façade is retained while all or most of the building is demolished and rebuilt.

This was the fourth time the city had issued and advertised a request for proposal. The previous three had failed to elicit a single response.

The interested buyer is Chelsea-based Wethersfield LLC. Thomas said the company has signed the P&S agreement and has since made an $8,200 deposit toward the purchase price of $10,000.

Terms of the agreement stipulate that the sales contract must be signed and finalized by all parties by Dec. 31.

Cleanup and remediation of the contaminated site, as well as all permitting and financial arrangements, must be completed within the next calendar year so that construction can begin by 2022.

A certificate of occupancy, Thomas said, would be issued no later than 2023.

“This way he’ll have a year to get his permitting and financing in place,” Thomas said.

He noted that the former police headquarters at the corner of Bedford and High streets fits the definition of a brownfield and is beset with oil contamination, asbestos and mold infestation.

Marc Lederman is listed as manager of Wethersfield LLC. He also owns Lederman Engineering Inc., also of Chelsea.

Lederman told the real estate committee that he’s been redeveloping properties since 1995.

“I buy, I fix and I rent,” he said.