Council agrees to buy final Windstream parcel

by Judy Stringer

May 27 special council meeting

Calling the 1-acre parcel “pivotal” to downtown development, Hudson City Council voted unanimously for the city to exercise its right of first refusal and acquire the remaining piece of the 5-acre Windstream property on the southwest corner of Morse Road and Owen Brown Street that it does not already own.

“The purchase of this property, if it does go through, doesn’t necessarily mean Phase II is going through. It doesn’t mean it’s not going through. It just means that the city has decided that this particular piece of property in the middle of that land is significant enough that we can’t not control it and decide what its fate will be,” said council President Chris Foster.

Hudson bought the first 4 acres around the former Windstream operations center at 94 Owen Brown in 2017 and tore down a separate building on that parcel. In May 2020, a council vote to purchase the remaining building and land for $1.02 million ended in a deadlock, after which the company put the property up for sale.

A third-party offer of $925,000 spurred council’s recent reconsideration.

Interim City Manager Tom Sheridan said the city would have until July 17 to work on some of the due diligence issues raised by council, including the need for a more in-depth environmental assessment of the building.

“I’d like to get that environmental phase two going,” he said, “and I believe that would be below $25,000.”

In terms of financing, Assistant City Manager Jeff Knoblauch said the city ended 2021 with $1.17 million more in the general fund than it anticipated, which could be advanced to the Phase II Fund for the purchase.

“We would still be within the current budget even with this advance,” he said.

Council member Chris Banweg said the intent is “to sell and recoup those funds” at a later date. ∞