Details Emerge in N.B. Borden School Purchase & Sale Agreement Search

After a Massachusetts Public Records Request and months of searching, the city of Fall River is still unable to locate the missing purchase and sale agreement for its sale of the Nathaniel B. Borden School.

During the search, it was discovered that the purchase and sale agreement was the only document missing from the city’s building file on N.B. Borden School at Government Center.

In the continuing pursuit for the missing purchase and sale agreement, more facts and irregularities have come to light about the property’s sale as well as more questions. Therefore, the Preservation Society has updated its N.B. Borden School fact sheet to include all the most recent developments since its initial release in October 2019.

The historic c. 1867 school at 45 Morgan Street was sold to current owner T.A. Restaurant by the city in 2012 during a time when Fall River was disposing of several vacant school buildings. The city’s requests for proposals included multiple conditions of sale to ensure each redevelopment project was completed or that the city was compensated.

Despite T.A. Restaurant’s redevelopment proposal only being half a page long and missing multiple minimum criteria such as developer credentials and a schedule for project implementation, the proposal was allowed and accepted over two others.

A Public Records Request for the bid and sale documents of another historic school sold by the city at the same time — the c.1892 Osborn School at 160 Osborn Street — produced a similar request for proposals by the city and a purchase and sale agreement that included conditions of sale like a project timeline, required documentation, and proven financials to complete the redevelopment.

Because the N.B. Borden School’s missing purchase and sale agreement can’t be located, city officials and residents are unable to confirm the conditions of its sale, which could save the building from the current owner’s intent for demolition.

The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Fall River Significant Structure List.

*Drone photo courtesy of William Costa.

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