Committee will take second look at offers for former Genest Bakery property

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The former Genest’s Bakery site on the night of Feb. 6, 2018 (credit – Andrew Sylvia)

MANCHESTER, NH – Discussion on who will purchase the former Genest Bakery site will continue after the Manchester Board of Aldermen rejected a recommendation selling the property to the Tokena Corporation.

In a 6-7-1 vote, the Aldermen rejected a recommendation by the Committee on Lands and Buildings to award a proposal by Tokena to purchase the property for $250,000.

The measure was defeated largely over confusion between comparing the Tokena proposal with one by Custom Architectual Design Management, also known as CADM, for $275,000.

While CADM’s proposal appeared higher, city officials advised the Aldermen that various contingencies within the proposal would actually negate the additional $50,000 between the proposals, as Tokena’s offer came with no contingencies.

More concerns arose over what each proposal would do with the property, as some on the board were uncertain whether Tokena would force out several craft workers currently working within the facility.

Advocates of moving forward with the Tokena proposal, with the most vocal support coming from Alderman Tom Sapienza, cited that not approving the recommendation would delay getting the property back onto the city’s property tax rolls.

Other advocates such as Alderman Barbara Shaw voiced frustrations with those seeing confusion in the process.

Shaw, chairwoman of the Committee on Lands and Buildings, asked those who voiced concerns where they were during the committee’s deliberations over this matter.

“Our committee followed the process that was presented to us and we made a decision that was based on the information brought forward in the Request for Proposals,” said Shaw. “Nobody did anything wrong and it was done legally. All of this discussion is after the fact.”

Tim Baines conflicted with Shaw’s viewpoint, stating his belief that the city did not do its due diligence on this matter, leading to the confusion.

Alderman William Shea, who represents the ward where the property is located, voiced opposition to both proposals, saying that the focus regarding the property should be seen through the lens of economic development rather than merely selling the property as quickly as possible.

Sapienza joined Shaw and Elizabeth Moreau, John Cataldo, Normand Gamache and Keith Hirschmann in supporting the recommendation. The opposition consisted of Baines and Shea as well as Dan O’Neil, Bill Barry,  Kevin Cavanaugh, Will Stewart and Christopher Hebert.

Joe Kelly Levasseur abstained following an abstention he registered in the committee process.