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My Brother’s Table to purchase Lynn multi-service center

This article was published 2 year(s) and 3 month(s) ago.

My Brother's Table will purchase the multi-service center after receiving approval from the Lynn City Council. (Spenser Hasak)

LYNN — The multi-service center, at 100 Willow St., will be sold to My Brother’s Table after the City Council voted unanimously in favor of the proposal on Tuesday night. 

My Brother’s Table, a Lynn-based soup kitchen, will purchase the property — along with 57- 61 Liberty Street for accessory parking — for the minimum bid of $500,000 and will be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the property upon purchase. 

Assistant City Solicitor James Lamanna said the city does not have a great track record of keeping and maintaining buildings because of fiscal issues, adding that the property on Willow Street needs significant repairs — including to the roof, as it tends to flood with a lot of rain. 

With this purchase, Ward 2 Councilor Rick Starbard said My Brother’s Table will now be able to apply for historical grants and start fundraising for the estimated $1 million required to repair the building. 

“I think we all know that their board is probably one of the strongest boards of any organization in the city, and if anyone can pull that off and make the much-needed repairs to that building — especially with those copper domes — the board at My Brother’s Table can,” Starbard said. “I’m glad that we were able to get this done and I think (it’s good) having this off of the city books and having it in their hands where they know they have a permanent home going forward. I think this is a win-win for everybody.”

After 30 years of ownership, the city put out a bid to purchasers for the 17,664-square-foot property last year after the lease for the center expired in December. 

The property currently houses My Brother’s Table, the Lynn homeless shelter and an office for the Essex County Sheriff’s Department and Health Innovations. 

My Brother’s Table put out a bid for the property last year, but Dianne Kuzia Hills, executive director of My Brother’s Table, said they were denied in April. 

Hills said they were denied because their proposal offered to pay the minimum bid, which was $500,000, in installments, and the soup kitchen had asked for a due-diligence period, which was originally not included in the city’s request for proposals (RFP). 

This time around, however, a due-diligence period is included in the RFP, and Hills said they changed their proposal to reflect that they would pay in full at the closing. 

Hills said they had been negotiating with the city to extend their lease but the city decided to explore options to sell the building. 

“We’ve just been interested in staying, whatever that meant, whether it was leasing or buying,” Hills said. “We want to stay here because it’s a great location for us.” 

The location has been used as a soup kitchen and homeless shelter since 1990 pursuant to a condition in a deed from December 1990. 

The most recent RFP, released in April, required any prospective purchaser to agree to continue to lease space for a soup kitchen for a period of 30 years, which Hills said they plan to continue. 

The homeless shelter currently in this building will remain there for another two to three years, as Lamanna said the shelter purchased the hotel across the street and plans to relocate there within that time frame. 

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