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City now accepting bids for Asylum building

Date: 8/6/2012

By G. Michael Dobbs

SPRINGFIELD — The city of Springfield is looking for a business interested in having a window on Main Street.

The city opened 1592 Main St. — better known as the Asylum building — for potential buyers last week. Brian Connors, deputy director of Economic Development, explained the city has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the building, which needs to be completed and returned to the city by Aug. 13.

The RFP carries a minimum bid of $400,000 as the purchase price for the building.

He said a decision about the development proposals would probably be made 30 days after that date.

Connors detailed the numerous improvements made to the building in order to prepare for sale. More than half of the building was demolished to make way for a 20-space parking lot. The remaining structure has been gutted and cleaned. A new heating system, windows, signage, sprinklers, landscaping and roof have been installed.

There is a new staircase to the basement of the building and a staircase in the middle of the basement — an architectural remnant from the days the building was a department store, years before it was a state office building or a nightclub.

Connors pointed to a section of the first floor that could be removed to access the staircase if the new owner wanted to keep that feature.

There is 6,000 square feet of space in both the basement and on the first floor and an additional 1,800 square feet on the mezzanine, Connors said.

The city has no preferred use for the building he added, but it must be within the building's zoning. He said the RFP stipulates that to encourage "an active Main Street" the new owner make use of the first floor window front and Main Street entrance.

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