🔴 The city negotiating team has a meeting with the GSA Monday and sought guidance from the City Council on its impasse with developer SoBow Square

🔴 City Council approved two resolutions

🔴 They will be further discussed at the council's next meeting on March 20


The Portsmouth City Council met Saturday to approve two resolutions declaring negotiations over the McIntyre Project are at an impasse.

City attorney Susan Morrell said that the city negotiating team has a meeting with the General Services Administration Monday to discuss its application for the purchase of the McIntyre federal building on Daniel Street. It sought guidance on whether or not to inform the GSA of the impasse.

"We've come to the point where we're approaching March 31st and we believe we are at an impasse. We don't want to terminate the process. We want to keep going forward in good faith and try to get through this impasse but we are at a basic standstill at the moment without being able to agree on the termination rights or the potential revenue sharing for this project," Morrell said.

The city requested an extension of the application deadline in November as the city continued to work out a financing plan with SoBow Square which the city wants to be settled before the application is filed.

She explained that as part of the city's settlement agreement reached last April with SoBow Square was also a binding contract to work together to come up with a plan for the property. One of the city's goals is to reduce its financial contribution to the project.

SoBow Square disagreed with the extension and had threatened legal action, according to Morrell.

The city and SoBow Square also disagree on the termination rights in the settlement agreement if the application is rejected by the GSA and National Park Service, according to Morrell.

She called it an "incredibly complex project" that has required assistance from legal experts to make sure city abides by the terms of the agreement.

City attorney Susan Morrell addresses a special City Council meeting 3/12/23
City attorney Susan Morrell addresses a special City Council meeting 3/12/23 (Portsmouth City Council)

Optimism at completing the project

Council member Josh Denton said the councils he has served on since 2016 have acted in good faith to develop the McIntyre property.

"Just because we have reached an impasse we are still going to continue to act in good faith with our development partner to obtain the building through the historic land program," Denton said.

The city council by voice vote unanimously approved resolutions on both matters. Morrell read drafts of both resolutions but copies were not posted to the council website.

"I am an optimistic person, I am a hopeful person but those who are deciding whether or not to continue on with this process need to know so they can help facilitate this as best they can," Mayor Deaglan McEachern said.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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