In a move it acknowledged as “certainly unusual,” the negotiating team for Lexington’s Board of Selectmen has publicly revealed its final offer to purchase a portion of the Scottish Rite property at 33 Marrett Road.
The offer of $10,950,000 was made March 12 without formal approval from the board, according to an email from the negotiating team to Town Meeting members, which was shared then with the media Tuesday night.
According to the letter—sent by selectmen Peter Kelley and Norm Cohen and Town Manager Carl Valente—the Board of Selectmen will meet at 6 p.m. this Thursday, March 14, to consider the negotiating team’s third and final proposal. If agreed to by the board, the town’s offer would then be officially submitted to the Scottish Rite on March 15.
Should the Scottish Rite accept the bid, the appropriation would then be up for a vote at a special Town Meeting to be held next Monday, March 18. The proposal is for the purchase to be financed through Community Preservation Act funds and through the tax levy, the letter explains.
To read the full text of the letter, click on the PDF above.
“While it is certainly unusual for the negotiating team to publicly reveal its offer prior to acceptance by the Board of Selectmen, given the upcoming Special Town Meeting on March 18, the negotiating team believes it is crucial to provide this basic purchase information to Town Meeting Members,” the letter says.
The property in question is approximately 10 acres of the Scottish Rite’s land behind the National Heritage Museum on Marrett Road. Property under consideration for purchase includes the historic annex and carriage house, but not the museum or the single-family home along Marrett Road.
The Scottish Rite reportedly offered the town first dibs on the land over the summer, prompting the Board of Selectmen to approve an appraisal and study of the property.
According to the letter to Town Meeting Members, the Board of Selectmen submitted its first bid on Feb. 12 and learned a week later that the Scottish Rite had received five offers for the property, with the town’s coming in well below the primary offer.
The town countered on March 6, and heard back on March 12 that another bidder had revised its offer and became “the leading contender to purchase the property.” The negotiating team then made “one final offer,” according to the letter, with that being the $10,950,000 bid, which is subject to both approval by the full Board of Selectmen and an appropriation by Town Meeting.
Should the offer be accepted by the Board of Selectmen and then the Scottish Rite, the letter explains, the Scottish Rite has agreed to hold an open house for Town Meeting Members from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 17 at the mansion/annex building at 33 Marrett Road.
Check back with Patch for more on this developing story as it becomes available.