LOCKPORT – R.B. Mac Construction Co. of Lockport, whose first effort to buy Niagara County’s property on Davison Road in Lockport fell through after a year and a half of negotiation, has made another offer, which appears to be the lowest offer the county has yet received for the land.
In fact, Assistant County Attorney R. Thomas Burgasser said Friday, it was the only one submitted in the county’s sealed-bid effort to drum up a buyer for 66 acres of land that includes the former county infirmary, which later was used as Social Services Department headquarters under the name of the Switzer Building.
A resolution placed on the agenda of the County Legislature’s Administration Committee for a meeting Monday says R.B. Mac offered $50,700 for the 16.9 acres nearest the road, sometimes called the front parcel or Parcel 1.
The construction company also offered $50,000 for the largely vacant back parcel, which measures 49.4 acres.
When the Legislature declared the land surplus in March, it made the sale of Parcel 2 contingent on a satisfactory development of Parcel 1.
The terms restricted Parcel 1 to residential, office or mixed use during the first five years the new owner controls it.
The Switzer Building is known to contain mold and asbestos.
The boundaries of the land were drawn to exempt 25 acres from the sale. That portion, which the county will keep, includes athletic fields used by the An-Jo Baseball League and the Lockport Rugby Club, among others.
Also not for sale are two county records storage buildings, an irrigation building for the neighboring county golf course, and a cemetery where people who died in the infirmary are buried, mostly in unmarked graves.
The golf course itself also is not being offered for sale.
The boundary of the City and Town of Lockport runs through the county-owned property – through the infirmary itself, in fact. In 2012, when R.B. Mac was negotiating to try to buy Parcel 1, there was talk that the boundary would be altered to place all the county property within the town.
However, town Supervisor Marc R. Smith said Friday no one has contacted him about the latest proposal.
In 2012, it was reported that R.B. Mac’s offer was slightly less than the $175,000 the county sought for the front parcel when it listed the property with a realtor.
At that time, R.B. Mac planned to convert the Switzer Building into apartments, while constructing patio homes for senior citizens on the rest of Parcel 1.
An R.B. Mac executive did not return a call seeking comment Friday.
The county has made other failed attempts to sell the land since Social Services moved out in 2003.
The Christian Academy of Western New York never could come up with financing to close the $375,000 deal it made with the county in 2007.
Dr. Douglas MacLeod of Tacoma, Wash., who placed the winning $160,250 bid when the county tried an Internet auction in 2011, was allowed to pull out of the deal after his plans for four-story senior-citizen condominium buildings ran afoul of the town’s zoning ordinance.