Former YMCA Bidding Process Transpires, Some Questions Remain

By Seth Daniel

In what was described as a “fire sale” situation for the CCC Club – which is the old YMCA – in Bellingham Square on Shurtleff Street, board members from the non-profit have apparently accepted a bid for the building at $950,000 from a local real estate owner.

Some now are questioning that process, and have enlisted the help of the state Attorney General, they said.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said the City had put in a bid on the building at $950,000 in order to use the basement and first floor as a new, long sought after Recreation Center. The top floors, he said, would be put out to bid for affordable housing development.

“We heard it was for sale and put in a proposal,” said Ambrosino. “It looked like a good opportunity for the (Recreation/Teen Center), but our proposal wasn’t accepted.”

Ambrosino said he understood the CCC non-profit was in financial difficulties and needed proceeds from the sale quickly to resolve debts.

He said the City hasn’t gotten a letter of refusal, but he understood that local real estate developer Jim D’Amico had received the Board’s designation with a bid also of $950,000.

D’Amico did not return a call from the Record looking to speak about the designation and/or sale.

Sources said a competing bid from Stephen Powers Jr. came in at $750,000 and was angled at putting in a sober house at the facility. Powers operates several sober houses in Chelsea and surrounding cities.

Meanwhile, a fourth bidder is upset over the process as he said his trust was the highest bidder at $1.5 million and was turned down – perhaps not even getting one of the eight votes. That bidder did provide the Record with a copy of the submitted bid.

It showed an offer of $100,000 as a deposit and an additional deposit of $100,000 upon completion of a Purchase and Sale Agreement. It also guaranteed to close on the property with full payment by March 30.

East Coast 3 Realty Trust put in a cash bid of $1.5 million with its manager, Joe Mattarese.

Revere’s Charlie Lightbody is part of that trust and he said he has been very disappointed with the process, and would like answers. So far, he said, he hasn’t received any answers from the Board or its attorney.

“I haven’t even gotten a letter of refusal,” he said. “Joe represented us and had the authority to bid on it. They wanted to know what bank we were getting our money from and we told them it wasn’t any bank. We were ready to purchase it with cash. Joe told them he understood the financial problems and so we could close very quickly if need be. I’ve gotten no answers and I know I was the highest bidder for the non-profit’s building. We were ready to do whatever they wanted; we were ready to work with the City to lease the Center. I have filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s office and I’m not afraid to say it. This seems to me to be the scam of the Century and no one is looking at it.”

Needless to say, the City is still interested in talking to the eventual owner about using the first two floors as a Recreation/Teen Center, which has been called for numerous times.

The CCC fitness center was in operation and a legal rooming house with Single Occupancy Rooms (SROs) units in the floors above is still in use as well.

Ambrosino said the City will work with D’Amico is he continues with the sale, and hopes the City will be able to lease out the two floors for the Center.

“He expressed an interest in working with the City,” he said. “We are interested working with him, but the devil is in the details. If the SROs continue in the above units, we can’t likely do it.”

The building is a classic building in the center of the City, but reportedly needs a good deal of work on the upper SRO units, which have been occupied for many years.

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