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City of Rochester to purchase former Saint Elizabeth Seton School for future redevelopment

On Tuesday, April 2, City Council voted to unseal minutes from prior nonpublic meetings regarding the purchase of the former Saint Elizabeth Seton School property.

City Council previously voted to enter into a purchase and sale agreement to acquire the property from the Diocese of Manchester for a total $1.7MM, $750K from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and $950K from the REDC Non-Capital Reserve Fund previously approved for affordable housing projects.

According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, ARPA funds may be used to acquire property so long as there is an affordable housing component to the project.

Director of Economic Development, Michael Scala, says the City’s intent is to post a request for proposals (RFP) and turn over the property to a private developer as soon as possible.

“We will require an affordable housing component,” said Scala. “Additionally, we will retain easements for the Riverwalk due to its proximity to the Cocheco River.”

City officials say the strategic redevelopment of the former Saint Elizabeth Seton School is critical to its ongoing downtown revitalization efforts and the future of the Riverwalk, while simultaneously addressing the pressing need for additional affordable housing units in Rochester.

City Council ultimately voted to approve the purchase and expend the funds. The Economic Development and Finance Departments will work to create an RFP and begin holding conversations with developers regarding the future of the property.

To learn more about the future of the former Saint Elizabeth Seton School property, stay tuned to upcoming City Council meetings. Public meetings are broadcast live on Comcast Channel 22 and Breezeline (formerly Atlantic Broadband/Metrocast Cablevision) Channel 26. Broadcasts are also available on demand, which includes index points to help viewers navigate to specific agenda items. Visit www.rochesternh.gov for more information.

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