Three months after the Town of Middleburg sold its 0.26-acre Health Center property to Old Ox Brewery, it’s focused on the future of its 0.3-acre Asbury Church property.
The town last week advertised a request for interest to solicit responses from firms and individuals interested in purchasing and restoring the 189-year-old church on Jay Street, which the town has owned since December 2014. Vacant for the past two decades, the 2,660-square-foot building is in need of a renovation, according to the advertisement. The town will expect the restoration to be done in line with the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, since it feels that the property is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
“We believe that it fits the criteria,” said Business & Economic Development Director Jamie Gaucher. “[The town has] never taken steps to pursue that.”
The property is located in the town’s R-2 Single-Family Residential zoning district, which allows single-family dwellings and public parks as by-right uses. That zoning district also allows for the operation of assisted living centers, bed and breakfasts, a child care center, libraries, museums, places of worship, schools, public safety centers, antique shops and professional offices via the approval of a special use permit.
“I think we want to preserve our options at this time,” Gaucher said. “We really want as many responses … as we can possibly get and sit down and evaluate all of them.”
To conform with federal rehabilitation standards, the selected firm or individual will be required to make minimal changes to the building, preserve its historic character, repair and not replace any deteriorated historic features and ensure that new additions are compatible with the existing structure. “We anticipate that we would closely monitor that,” Gaucher said.
The town in August 2017 contracted with Cochran’s Stone Masonry to stabilize the building by putting on a new roof and performing interior renovations. That project wrapped up earlier this year and cost the town about $174,000.
Interested respondents should submit their proposals by Feb. 1, and include their experience and qualifications, proposed redevelopment plans and timeframe, a purchase offer and a financial plan that details expected acquisition, construction and general development costs.
A town committee will evaluate submissions on a 100-point system with 20 points going toward a review of each proposal’s development plans, 15 toward their plans to strengthen the town’s economy, 15 toward their recognition of the historic significance of the property, 15 toward their capacity to manage the project, 15 toward their readiness to begin, 10 toward their plans to enhance the quality of life in the neighborhood and 10 toward their plans to stimulate other economic, social and cultural development in town.