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Request for Proposals: McGlashan-Nickerson House

Calais, Maine

 
Distorted 360-panoramic image of a room with wood floors
A 360-degree view of a room inside the historic McGlashan-Nickerson House

Photo by Ashley L. Conti, Friends of Acadia, NPS

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McGlashan-Nickerson House

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The National Park Service (NPS) is seeking proposals from interested parties to lease the historic McGlashan-Nickerson House within Saint Croix Island International Historic Site.

The NPS has declared the house excess to the needs of the bureau and conducted an Environmental Assessment (EA) to determine its disposition. Based on feedback received during a public comment period for the EA, the NPS selected the new alternative, which is to preserve the McGlashan-Nickerson House through a lease.

Through a Request for Proposals (RFP), the McGlashan-Nickerson House is available for a long-term lease of up to 60 years on favorable terms. The lease will require that the lessee rehabilitate and preserve the building.

An initial deadline of Dec 10, 2019 was set for proposals at the National Park Service Regional Office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. No proposals were received. The NPS will continue to accept proposals through 2022 as part of the agreement made between the NPS, Maine Historic Preservation Commission, and other interested parties to allow for the promotion and outreach of the RFP.

Request for Proposals, Attachments, and Additional Information

 

McGlashan-Nickerson House Q&A's

1. What are the taxes and what was the last years assessed?

The following information came off the Calais Tax Assessor's website: The McGlashan-Nickerson house is Parcel no.015-018 and was last assessed in 2018 for a total value of $198,400, broken out as Land at $83,200 and the Building at $110,200.

We recommend contacting the tax assessor directly to ensure accuracy.

Andrea Walton
Tax Assessor
Phone: 207-454-2521 ext. 1006
assessor@calaismaine.org

2. What is the footprint (dimensions) of the entire building?

Download a drawing of approximate dimensions (PDF, 19 kb)

3. Can you explain tax credits and how they might apply to a National Register property, like the McGlashan-Nickerson House?

Each potential Lessee is unique and there are many variables in the tax code.

The State Historic Preservation Office (i.e., Maine Historic Preservation Commission) and Maine Preservation are the experts on tax credits.

Contacts for these organizations can be found in the following links: Maine Historic Preservation Commission, Tax Incentives and Maine Preservation Tax Credit Partnerships.

Info on tax credits can also be found here: https://www.nps.gov/tps/tax-incentives.htm.

4. Does the house have to be fully restored according to the Guidelines for Treatment of historic properties?

A Preservation Maintenance Plan will need to be approved by the National Park Service (NPS) and the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) prior to work being done. Rehabilitation work should comply with the Secretary’s Standards for Rehabilitation: https://www.nps.gov/tps/standards/rehabilitation.htm.

NPS can assist with the development of the maintenance plan. See 10.3 of Attachment A (Sample Lease) in the RFP.

5. What treatments are expected for this historic structure?

The most likely treatment will be Rehabilitation. This allows for the most flexibility of use and allows for some alteration. Preservation could also be a treatment, but this is stricter in terms of maintenance and repair of historic materials.

https://www.nps.gov/tps/standards/four-treatments.htm

“Preservation focuses on the maintenance and repair of existing historic materials and retention of a property's form as it has evolved over time. Rehabilitation acknowledges the need to alter or add to a historic property to meet continuing or changing uses while retaining the property's historic character.”

6. Who would pay for the insurance?

Insurance is the Lessee’s responsibility. See Section 14, Insurance and Indemnification, in Attachment A (Sample Lease) of the RFP.

7. What is the expected timeframe to restore the structure?

There is no expected time frame. If a tax credit is applied for, there may be a time limit requirement to finish rehabilitation. The expected time frame for the length of the lease can be up to 60 years.

8. Are there limitations to the kinds of RFPs that will be accepted? For example, will proposals for commercial, residential, or a business such as an Airbnb or luxury B&B, be considered? Will a combination of both, such as a business venture in the barn and office space or residence in the main house?

If the proposal is respectful to the structure and meets the Proposal Selection Criteria in the RFP (see Section C, page 6), all proposals will be considered.

9. Can a lessee have horses on the property? Other pets, such as dogs?

Yes.

10. When does the RFP end?

Open through 2022.

11. What is the deadline to submit proposals?

Proposals will be evaluated weekly as they are received up until October 10, 2021 (two years from the release date of the RFP).

12. Would any applicant qualify for preservation grants to assist in the restoration of the house, or must the applicant be a non-profit or charitable organization?

There are different federal and state grants available for private and non-profit as well as grants for private, commercial. Contact Maine Historic Preservation Commission for more information.

13. What are the approved uses for the house for lease In Maine?

There are a range of uses for the house that would be considered. Residential as well as commercial uses will be considered including educational, museum, or cultural uses. This is described more completely on page 4, #2 of the Request for Proposal for the lease of the house.

14. Is the National Park Service obtaining materials for the property?

No.

15. Is there any plumbing or electrical still intact? Have the pipes burst? Would it need new septic tanks and that kind of stuff? I saw the estimation for $250,000 in repairs, is there a listing of why they think that?

The NPS estimates it will cost a million dollars to repair. Plumbing and electrical is mostly intact. Though not up to code. The electricity is a mix of knob and tube to modern wire breakers. Definitely not up to code. Expect rodent damage. It likely needs a new septic system. We know there is a drain field but we’re not sure where it is. There is a well, but it has not been used for a long time. Don’t know anything about the state of the pump and we don’t know anything about the water quality. Based on the water at the Saint Croix Island Visitor Center, there is probably uranium in the water. Boiler: the boiler has been removed.

16. Are there any limits to what can be done on the property? For example, can additional buildings be built on the 1.7 acres? Could a border or fence be built?

No additional buildings can be built as this would be an impact to the historic landscape around the house. It’s possible a fence could be built but that would have to be negotiated with the NPS.

17. Is the zoning open or set to residential or commercial? If selected, would we be allowed to park a camper/rv on the property while repairs are done until it’s livable and safe to live in? We noticed no appliances, is that because the electrical isn’t up to code?

Because this is a federal building, the zoning is open. Parking a camper/rv can be negotiated with the NPS. See above re: electrical

18. What does the rent-free tax incentive mean exactly? If we submit a proposal and it’s accepted, are there expected fees to be paid to Maine, the national park, or governing person? Is it contingent based on how much sweat equity and materials are put into it per month?

There is no rent-free tax incentive exactly. The rent is offset by the cost of the capital improvement that the Lessee makes. You can hire a contractor to do this work. If you want to get credit for sweat equity, you will need to get estimates for the work you are proposing. No fees are paid to the state, NPS, or other governing person. It’s all based on capital improvements.

19. Are there any limits on animals that can be on the property?

This should be negotiated with the NPS if its anything beyond normal house pets.

20. It says can take up to 60 years, at the end of 60 years how does it work? Do we have to make an offer? Do we get credit for the amount spent, the renovations made, the sweat equity and the new value of the property towards the purchase price?

At the end of the 60 years the property would revert back to the NPS. At that time the NPS could put the building out for lease again but the lessee wouldn't have any preferential treatment in getting the lease the second time around.

21. How formal of a proposal would you like? Is an executive summary, projected budgets and construction timelines in a pdf or word doc alright to submit or would a detailed summary, highly detailed budget, week by week construction timeline, detailed goals and objectives in a pdf or PowerPoint?

We would like a formal proposal that covers all the required elements list in the Request for Proposals. Only proposals that have all the required information and documentation will be reviewed.

22. There are several different ideas I have, and several I’d plan on applying for grants to help fund it, are there any limits to what types of grants I can use or apply for?

NPS has no limits on grants. The grants may have limits since it is a federal building. You can work with the State Historic Preservation Office to help identify applicable grants.

23. And finally, is there a backstory on why it’s vacant? How long has it been vacant? Is it haunted? The interior on Instagram looks typically in decent shape, some needs were pretty evident like the ceiling and supports.

The house came to the park in 2000 when the NPS acquired the 6 acres of land. It was used for administrative purposes from 2005 to 2014. A new Visitor Center was built for Saint Croix Island in 2014 after which the house did not have any function. Since the house does not have a function related to Saint Croix Island (the reason for the NPS being there), its challenging for the NPS to find the funds to rehabilitate/maintain it. As far as I know, the house is not haunted.

24. Are local zoning requirements applicable to federally owned property? If so, how is the parcel zoned?

Zoned residential. They will not need to adhere to local zoning.

25. Are local or state building requirements required outside what would be submitted to NPS/MHPC for review? I believe the extent to which would be dependent upon proposed use (commercial/residential). And what is the permitting process, if any?

Work would fall outside of local and state building requirements. Though any work will need to comply with federal regulations such as compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and the regulations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Which means they will have to consult with the NPS as they develop their plans for rehab. There may be a need for consultation with US Fish and Wildlife around endangered species (northern long eared bats) – as bats may be using the roof as habitat, for example. For the well and septic, they will need follow regulations with the state.

26. Has a fair market rent value ever been established for the property? (I understand this would be dynamic)

Fair Market Value was never established. We could not find a realtor in the area to give us this comparison.

27. Do lessees have to be US citizens?

No.

28. Does the infrastructure for broadband internet exist in the Red Beach area?

Not sure. Asking.

29. What happens if the lessee dies before the end of the lease agreement? Can it be assigned through a will? The Assignments section in the lease sample suggests it would be at the discretion of NPS.

Yes, the lease can be assigned through a will at the discretion of the NPS. I have never encountered this so I can't really speak to the details. I would think the Park would approve it if the person who inherits the lease is financially capable of carrying out the terms of the lease and there isn't a reason to disqualify them like being convicted of a felony or being in default on another government lease.

30. The RFP states the well and septic system would need to be assessed prior to occupancy. Is there any information as to the last assessment during occupancy by NPS?

We don’t have much information. There is a well, but it has not been used for a long time. Don’t know anything about the state of the pump and we don’t know anything about the water quality. Based on the water at the Visitor Center, there is probably uranium in the water. Septic: They will likely need a new septic system. We know there is a drain field but we’re not sure where it is. I would also add, the electricity is a mix of knob and tube to modern wire breakers. Definitely not up to code. Expect rodent damage.

31. Can the proposed use change over time? And if so, is there a process for making that change request to NPS?

The use could change but any plans for a change in use should be included in the proposal with a rationale for why and how any change would take place. The NPS would also reserve the right to deny that request for the change of use. Whatever change is proposed it should still meet the criteria outlined in the RFP.

32. Improvement Plan: do we need our own engineer/architect up front? I imagine it costs money to have a professional make measurements and propose a rehabilitation plan, so ideally that would happen after being granted the lease. I think I'm misunderstanding this part of the process? Can we rely on the sample improvement plant provided by NPS, with the understanding that the cost estimate could vary greatly? Ideally, we would base our plan around the sample estimate and provide a schedule for the improvements that aligns with our current financial situation.

The Improvement Plan should be as specific and detailed as you can make it. It’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to hire all the experts up front – but at a minimum it should outline your approach to improvement – how you will rehabilitate the structure with a plan and schedule for improvements to include a timeline and/or phasing of construction. Without a full set of drawings and measurements, the main discussion of the proposal should be what you want to do and how you plan on accomplishing it. It might be worth your while to get a recent independent cost estimate if you can as this will inform your plan. The RFP and associated documents including a sample lease can be found here: https://sam.gov/opp/34538b00bd3c4b9da7c6abc27ea633a0/view Also included on this site are drawings of floor plans and dimensions of the house.

33. The RFP mentions "Rent Offered." What would we include here if the rent is meant to be $0?

You can put your best estimate/desired rent payment here. We don’t have a market analysis done to determine Fair Market Value Rent – this will be determined after a proposal is selected. Because of the condition of the house and the amount of work needed to be done by the Lessee, it is anticipated that rent will be offset by capital improvements over the long term of the lease.

34. As we brainstorm the possible uses, I wonder if you have some examples to see if we're headed down the right path or not.

This is really open. Residential or commercial uses can be considered. Something that includes educational and/or cultural uses incorporated into the plan would also be viewed favorably as these type of uses are in synch with the NPS mission. Whatever is proposed, the intended use should be compatible or sensitive to the historic qualities of the house. As you do the work of rehabilitating it, you will have to follow the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Historic Preservation. Link to the Standards here: https://www.nps.gov/tps/standards.htm Any proposed use should also describe how it will affect (or not affect) Saint Croix Island International Historic Site. The visitor center for the site is a close neighbor located about 500 ft to the south of the house. Here is a link to a pdf from 2013 that offers a survey of leasing in the NPS with some case studies: https://forum.savingplaces.org/HigherLogic/System/DownloadDocumentFile.ashx?DocumentFileKey=98fd09ff-b112-ec05-35ad-21eca5f99fc2

If you have further questions, please email Gail Gladstone.

 
Historic two-story house with peeling yellow paint
McGlashan-Nickerson House

NPS/Meg Scheid

Last updated: August 5, 2022

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Calais , ME 04619

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