Sandwich Board Consider Completeness Of Two Bids For Town Acres

The Sandwich Board of Selectmen was set to go into executive session in a specially scheduled meeting at 5 PM July 31, at town hall to discuss two competing proposals for town-owned land in the so-called “Golden Triangle.”

Town manager George H. Dunham said that the selectmen plan to review whether either or both proposals were responsive to requirements in the request for proposals issued June 16 by the town.
In anticipation of the meeting, the Sandwich Economic Initiative Corporation sent the selectmen a letter this week asking them not to reject either plan, but to work with the proposers as necessary over time to ensure that the proposals are responsive.

The town owns a 56-acre tract in the “Triangle,” the informal name given to the section of South Sandwich bounded by Route 130 and Cotuit and Quaker Meetinghouse roads.

For years, town officials have sought to sell the land to a private entity that would develop the tract in a way to boost the town’s economy.

On June 16, the town issued its latest request for proposals to develop the land.

Two entities responded.

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One, the Tsakalos Realty Trust, proposed a mixed-use commercial and residential development, a proposal scaled down from a previous plan submitted by the trust and then withdrawn for the land.

The other, a joint partnership, proposed a destination youth sports complex, including a number of athletic fields, a fieldhouse, two hotels and commercial space.

Member partners include NRG Energy, the owner of the canal power plant and the largest taxpayer in the town, and the Dan Duquette Sports Academy, which is headed by Daniel P. Duquette, former general manager of the Boston Red Sox and now executive vice president of the Baltimore Orioles.

The trust and the partnership subsequently have begun discussing whether to cooperate on a combined development that uses the town land.

Mr. Dunham, while welcoming cooperation between the two entities, said he was not certain how a combined effort would fit in with the legal requirements of the town’s request for proposals.

On July 3, the town notified both the trust and the joint partnership that it needed further clarification on aspects of their proposals before declaring them responsive.

Members of the Sandwich Economic Initiative Corporation, which met Monday, July 28, at Heritage Museums & Gardens, clearly are nervous that the town will dismiss one or both development proposals over the question of responsiveness.

Following extended discussion on Monday, July 28, corporation directors voted to send the selectmen a letter on the issue.

In the letter, issued over the signature of corporation president Richard H. Johnson, the corporation “respectfully [urges] you to continue any and all dialogue or additional requests for information that may be necessary in order to secure responsive proposals.”

The letter praises the town for how it has so far handled the issue.

“We ask that you continue this positive approach so that we can move swiftly to the stage of analysis and real dialogue with the respondents in a timely manner,” the letter states.

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