By MARIE HOWARD - DEXTER - Engineering studies are underway at the Dexter Shoe Water Street building in keeping with the town's plans to develop the site into a facility to accommodate several businesses.
The work is a critical phase of the town's effort to acquire the Water Street building from H.H. Brown, a subsidiary of Dexter Shoe. If the engineering and environmental studies reveal anything that would make it less than feasible or more costly than initially perceived, the town could terminate the project.
The Dexter Town Council voted Nov. 26 to award the engineering contract to James W. Sewall Co. of Old Town, the lowest of of five bidders with a $13,000 offer.
A Community Development Block Grant of $400,000 sought by the town would pay for the purchase, development and upgrading of the former shoe manufacturing plant. This grants are contingent upon the sale of the property but that wonąt take place until the engineering study is finished.
The town also hopes to win an Economic Development Administration grant of $100,000 for environmental studies and marketing. These funds arenąt tied to the purchase of the plant but are geared toward any business expansion in Dexter.
The town has entered into a purchase-sale agreement with Dexter Shoe and will buy the plant for $159,000. The closing date is March 17, 2003. The Water Street plant's assessed value is $518,00 and the building has 92,973 square feet of manufacturing space, 14,580 square feet of warehouse space and 9,175 square feet of office space. It sits on 4.5 acres of land which is assessed at $53,000.
In addition to the $159,000 sales price, the projected cost of renovating the facility is $241,000. Plans call for the building to be subdivided into three separate operating units encompassing approximately 35,000 square feet.
Each unit is to be designed to meet the typical needs of a small-to-medium manufacturing or fabrication business and each will have three-phase power, loading docks and parking space to support the user's requirements. It has been projected that each new manufacturing business will create 30 to 60 job opportunities for the area.
In September 2001, Dexter Shoe Co. announced it was closing its three plants in Dexter and layoffs of about 500 workers, including 250 Dexter residents, began two months later.
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