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A view of “The Castle,” a former prison at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard U.S. Navy photos courtesy of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard 

Jail for sale

Navy again seeking bids to develop former prison 'The Castle' at Portsmouth shipyard

KITTERY, Maine — After falling into disrepair since it closed four decades ago, there is no estimate to how much it could cost to breathe new life into "The Castle," a former prison at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

This is the third time the Navy is seeking a public or private entity to redevelop the waterfront property, which sits on 11.6 acres and includes Building 93, the 265,000-square-foot former naval prison that was built in 1908 and closed in 1974.

"Friable asbestos, lead-based paint and other hazardous materials are known to be present in Building 93. Other hazardous materials may be present at the premises," according to a draft of the request for quotations.

While the developer would have to pay for the abatement, removal and disposal of all hazardous materials, the estimated cost will not be determined until the second phase of the selection process, according to Navy spokesman Thomas Kreidel.

Prior to release of the final RFQ, an industry forum and site visit will be held.

If approved, the developer could lease the property — which shares Seavey Island with the active shipyard and overlooks the Piscataqua River and Portsmouth, N.H. — for up to a half century.

"The estimated costs of environmental cleanup will be factored into the business plan and lease between the Navy and selected offeror," according to the draft RFQ.

Because the former prison is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, the Navy will help "review, finalize and submit a consultation package for the State Historic Preservation Officer," according to the draft.

An industry forum is scheduled to begin April 9 at 9 a.m. in the Regatta Banquet & Conference Center, at 28 Levesque Drive in Elliot, Maine. To attend the forum and visit the site, participants must register.

For more information, to receive updates or to submit a register form by March 28 email


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