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Former Daniel Webster College campus in Nashua to be auctioned off

Union Leader Correspondent

August 29. 2017 8:34PM
An auction has been planned for Oct. 23 to sell the former Daniel Webster College campus, a 53-acre property in Nashua. (Kimberly Houghton/Correspondent)

NASHUA — The former Daniel Webster College property, a 53-acre site that has sat idle since the school closed in May, will be auctioned off this fall.

A bankruptcy auction has been scheduled for Oct. 23.

“There are a lot of people calling on it. There is a lot of interest,” said Mike Matlat of A&G Realty Partners LLC of New York, the listing agent for the former college at 20 University Drive.

Matlat said he is curious to see how much of that interest translates into a bid for the property. The bid deadline is Oct. 17 — six days prior to the auction.

Alderman-at-Large Mark Cookson has drafted a resolution asking the Board of Aldermen to research the feasibility of purchasing the former college parcel.

“I think it would be irresponsible of us not to study this and look at the opportunities that might be available to us. I think a lot of people could benefit,” Cookson said on Tuesday.

His proposal will be introduced to aldermen on Sept. 12.

According to Cookson, the large parcel could potentially be used for several projects now being considered by city officials, including a performing arts center, new school district administrative offices and the Nashua Program at Brentwood that provides intensive-needs services for high school students.

“The property may be better suited and/or need less renovations than other property options that the city is considering,” states Cookson’s written resolution.

Currently, an aldermanic committee is recommending the city approve a $15.5 million bond to purchase and renovate the old Alec’s shoe store on Main Street and convert it into a downtown performing arts center.

Cookson is recommending that the city’s Office of Economic Development conduct the feasibility study to determine if it would be advantageous for Nashua to consider acquiring the campus’ assets.

According to information provided by the real estate broker, the 53-acre property includes 13 buildings consisting of more than 280,000 square feet.

The campus includes classrooms, the former flight center and hangar.

The site is currently assessed at nearly $24 million, and the real estate taxes are about $587,600. The property was last sold in 2009 for $14.9 million; it is now owned by Daniel Webster College Acquisition Corp., and its parent company ITT Educational Services of Carmel, Ind.

One year ago, ITT announced that it was planning to shut down its campuses, but Southern New Hampshire University was granted permission from the U.S. Department of Education to initiate a ‘teach-out’ agreement that allowed students and staff to remain at Daniel Webster College until this past spring.

At the time, Paul LeBlanc, SNHU president, said there are some maintenance needs at DWC that must be addressed, adding some matters have been neglected given the financial constraints the school was operating under; one of those issues was asbestos contained on the site. SNHU ultimately decided not to purchase the college campus housed next to Nashua’s municipal airport.

“Let us at least take a look at the campus and figure out what it can be used for,” said Cookson, stressing the needs of the Brentwood program, school administrators and potential improvements needed at Elm Street Middle School that could cost millions of dollars.

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