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Lexington may offer almost $11 million for Scottish Rite property

Posted by Brock Parker  March 13, 2013 02:12 PM

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For the first time, Lexington officials have disclosed that they are proposing an offer of almost $11 million to purchase the Scottish Rite Mason’s headquarters on Marrett Road.

In a letter to Lexington Town Meeting members Tuesday, the Board of Selectmen team trying to negotiate the purchase of the property, said its final offer of $10,950,000 still needs approval from the full board of selectmen and could be submitted to the Scottish Rite as early as Friday.

The negotiating team said it has taken the unusual step of publicly revealing its offer prior to its acceptance by the board because the team believes it is “crucial to provide this basic information” to Town Meeting members before the upcoming Special Town Meeting Monday, March 18, according to the letter.

If the Scottish Rite agrees to the purchase price, Town Meeting members could vote as soon as Monday on whether to appropriate the sum and authorize selectmen to buy the property.

Prior to the letter issued to Town Meeting members Tuesday, Lexington officials had not publicly disclosed the town’s offer for the property because negotiations were underway.
Selectmen Peter Kelley and Norman Cohen are on the negotiating team, along with Town Manager Carl Valente.

Their letter stated that a bid the town submitted on Feb. 12 was one of five offers for approximately 10 acres of property the Scottish Rite owns at 33 Marrett Road. The town’s bid was substantially less than the offer the Scottish Rite was considering, and the town submitted a revised offer on March 6. The negotiating team learned Tuesday that another bidder had revised their offer and was now the leading contender to buy the property.

As a result, the negotiating team is mulling a final offer of $10,950,000 that would need the approval of Selectmen before it is formally submitted. Selectmen will meet Thursday night at 6 p.m. in the Cary Memorial Building's Battin Hall to discuss the property.

The town would use Community Preservation Act funds and funding from the tax levy to buy the property, according to the letter.

Lexington officials have been considering using the property as a community center.
The Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite Masons is looking to sell its headquarters and move into the organization’s neighboring National Heritage Museum, which is not being sold. A single family residence owned by the Sottish Rite on Marrett Road is also not being included in the property the town is attempting to purchase.

If the Scottish Rite accepts Lexington’s final offer, an open house for Town Meeting members will be held at 33 Marrett Road from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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