Two bids came in this week envisioning vastly different futures for the old Henry T. Wing School.
The Stratford Capital Group would like to purchase the building for $1.3 million from the town and build a $53 million mixed-income development for people over age 62. The 128-unit complex—tentatively named the Henry T. Wing Residences—would be built in three phases.
All structures except the red brick 1927 building facing Route 130 would be demolished and replaced with two- and three-story buildings containing about 40 units each. Common areas would include dining rooms, game rooms, meeting rooms and quiet spaces, according to the bid.
The other bid came from the Cape Cod Collaborative, an educational group that offers services to special needs students from 19 school districts on the Cape.
The Collaborative is currently leasing part of the Wing School for office use and classes. The Collaborative would like to extend its $50,000-per-year lease for another five years.
The organization’s current lease runs out on June 30, 2020.
To sweeten the deal, the collaborative would undertake some costs of the building’s much-needed renovations, according to the bid. Also, much of the building and grounds would continue to be available for community use.
Both bids were submitted to the town’s planning department on Monday, August 5.
“I feel good that two bids came in from two groups that we’ve been talking to,” said town planner Ralph A. Vitacco. “Now it begins—we take a look and analyze the proposals.”
Mr. Vitacco said he had hoped to analyze the bids, present that analysis to the board of selectmen, and place the final decision before the voters at Special Town Meeting this fall, but there may not be enough time.
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“The Cape Cod Collaborative’s offer is pretty straightforward, but the Stratford Group proposal is more complex. We probably won’t have it ready for Town Meeting until the spring,” Mr. Vitacco said.
The Stratford Group’s bid offering says three multi-story buildings would be constructed in three phases. There would be two studio apartments, 118 one-bedroom apartments and eight two-bedroom apartments.
Most of the units would be for low-to-moderate income seniors and about 20 units would be rented at market rates.
The design is in keeping “with a vernacular Cape Cod style” of clapboard and shingle siding, pitched roofs and “generous use of trim” the bid says.
The developer is asking that the town provide about $2.6 million in community preservation funding, which would help the developer qualify for affordable housing tax credits and would pay demolition costs.
“The applicant is beyond excited about this development opportunity,” wrote Keith McDonald, vice president of SGC Development Partners, LLC, in a letter accompanying the bid. “The applicant believes the proposed development would be a huge success and will compliment an already well established community.”
Mr. McDonald said the developer would work with the town and the historic district committee to ensure that the complex would blend seamlessly into the historic district.
“This senior development is specifically designed for seniors who want to stay in Sandwich; geared for participants facing current housing issues or who no longer may stay in their current home, but who wish to remain living in the community,” Mr. McDonald wrote.
“Our design for aging is supported by a rich environment of support services addressing health and well-being of our residents, as well as the greater senior population and Sandwich.“
The town was seeking proposals to redesign and reuse the red brick building on Route 130, preferably with a mixed development of commercial and residential uses.
Several developers had initially expressed some degree of interest when the town advertised the renovation project in a series of ads posted earlier this year in real estate publications. The formal bidding process opened on May 23.
The Stratford Group and the collaborative took formal tours of the school sponsored by the town over the spring and summer months.
The Stratford Capital Group is the developer who purchased and transformed Bourne’s Kempton J. Coady School into senior housing a few years ago.
“We would be very happy if Stratford Group submitted a bid,” Mr. Vitacco said in June. “They do beautiful work.”
“The town’s preference is to sell the premises for purposes emphasizing professional office space with upper floor residential housing, workforce housing, and or affordable housing uses,” the bid invitation says.