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City to 'Test the Waters' With Powder House School This Fall

The school has been vacant since 2003, and the city would like to hear ideas for redeveloping the site.

The city of Somerville will "test the waters" by issuing a request for proposals this fall for development of the vacant Powder House School near Teele Square, according to George Proakis, Somerville's director of planning, who spoke at a ResiStat neighborhood meeting Thursday.

The school, at 1060 Broadway, has been closed since 2003, and the city would like to sell the site and collect property taxes from whatever development occurs, Proakis said.

"We are interested to see what's out there," Proakis told people at the Ward 7 neighborhood meeting, which was held at the Tufts Administration Building, next to the school.

"We want a partner who can work with us and the community," Proakis said. Beyond that, he indicated the city would entertain a variety of proposals for the site, including residential, institutional, office and retail uses.

One likely condition would be that new development at the site maintain at least 40 percent of the parcel as public open space, the planning director said.

The city held neighborhood meetings about potential reuses for the school in 2010 and 2011, according to previous media coverage and the city's ResiStat blog.

Structural reports indicate the current building would need to be torn down, Proakis said Thursday.

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