GEORGE BRENNAN, Cape Cod Times, January 19, 2013
SANDWICH — The town is seeking bids for the Deacon Eldred House, a 1756 house located on Shawme Pond in the town’s historical village center.
At a 2011 town meeting, voters authorized the selectmen to sell the property with a preservation restriction. The building is used by the Thornton W. Burgess Society as a museum. At the time, there was strong indication that the society would bid on the property and that ownership would allow them to raise money needed to do an estimated $400,000 in repairs.
The total assessed value of the house and land is $554,100, according to town assessors’ records.
The property is a little more than three-quarters of an acre and is just a short distance from Sandwich Town Hall.
As part of the request for proposals, the town has agreed to put an article on a future town meeting warrant to use $50,000 in community preservation money to help with necessary repairs, according to the bid documents provided by the town. Strong preference will be given to bidders who propose using the building for “philanthropic, museum, tourist or educational uses,” the documents state.
The bid specifications also require that the new owners provide access to the pond for “boating, picnicking and other recreational purposes.” The town retains a first right of refusal to purchase the property back in the future for $1 if it is ever put up for sale.
Town leaders have promised to honor a lease with the Thornton W. Burgess Society through the end of 2016, no matter who the successful bidder is for the property.
Bids will be accepted through March 29. At 10 a.m. Feb. 6, the town will offer site visits to prospective bidders.