Former Mobil gas station site under agreement to be sold | News

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NEWBURYPORT — Roughly two months after the former Mobil gas station on the corner of State and High streets was placed on the market for $1.2 million in mid-February, a buyer has been found and the property is now “under agreement.”

Until the property is under contract, the potential buyer and the final price will not be revealed, said commercial realty broker Christopher Brown.

However, Brown said the agreement, which was made April 11, is with a local buyer.

Weeks earlier, Global Companies LLC officials obtained permits to remove underground gasoline tanks and make other adjustments to the long dormant property. The three tanks were removed earlier this month over a period of days.

Global Companies LLC announced in March it would dig up the tanks at the former Mobil gas station, nearly five months after the City Council called Global in for a state law Chapter 139 common nuisance hearing.

Brown said the company received a slew of competitive offers during the first 10 days the property was on the market but only one stood out.

According to the real estate listing, the property is roughly half an acre in size and has a 1,508-square-foot building on it. The city last assessed the property at $694,300. Global Companies LLC purchased the property in September 2010 for $5,094,000. The station was built in 1969, according to city records.

Ward 2 Councilor Jennie Donahue said she was pleased to learn the property, which falls within her ward, was under agreement.

“I am thrilled to hear it is moving so quickly. I’ve been pleased at the pace of progress since we began negotiations earlier this year. I will be very eager to see forthcoming plans and what this developer has in mind,” Donahue said in a statement.

Ever since the gas station closed May 7, 2018, the unused site has become an irritant to neighbors and a blighted area of concern for city officials. In October, about 400 people signed an online petition calling for the demolition and removal of the gas station and its underground tanks.

Global representatives apologized to city councilors about the same time for neglecting the former gas station for so long that neighbors began writing their elected officials last summer.

The neighbors outlined issues at the site that included overgrown weeds and a lack of grounds maintenance, sidewalks not being cleared of snow and ice in the winter, illegal public parking, and use of the site by motorists as a cut-through to avoid a traffic light.

Neighbor Marc Cendron said he and others who live near the property have been trying to figure who wants to buy it but have been told that the letter of intent includes a confidentially clause.

Cendron said he and his neighbors are anxiously awaiting to know what the potential buyer wants to do with the property. They hope the buyer is not interested in building what he called an “ugly residential structure.”

“This is what we in the neighborhood are really concerned about at this point,” Cendron said in an email. “We really need to know who is going to manage the future of the property. In the meanwhile, I am delighted that the tanks are out. The ugly, abandoned building still remains as does the massive signage on State Street.” 

Global bought the property from ExxonMobil Corp., knowing it had a deed restriction that did not allow residential uses. ExxonMobil, however, verbally agreed to modify the deed restriction if Global took care of cleaning up the site under the state’s Chapter 21E residential cleanup standards.

In December, the City Council authorized an agreement between the city and Global, setting a goal of May 31 for modifying the deed restriction. In authorizing the agreement, the city terminated its common nuisance hearing “without prejudice,” meaning the city could seek to declare the property a “nuisance” again if necessary.

Dave Rogers is a reporter with the Daily News of Newburyport. Email him at: Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.

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