September 09, 2011
By Christine Dunn
BARRINGTON - The trustees of Zion Bible College in Haverhill, Mass., plan to sell their former campus in Barrington at auction at noon on Oct. 25.
A minimum reserve price of $2 million has been set for the 39.5-acre parcel, said Bradford R. Martin Jr., the lawyer representing Zion Bible in the transaction.
There are nine buildings on the property, including Belton Court, a historic mansion.
Martin said the auction will be held on the site off Middle Highway. The auction house, J.J. Manning of Yarmouthport, Mass., will arrange for potential bidders to have the chance to inspect the property before the auction.
In the spring, the Town Council walked away from its contract to buy the property for $5.2 million. The purchase was going to be contingent on voter approval, but the council withdrew from the contract after considering the results of a comprehensive inspection of the property.
The report said it would cost $1.59 million for asbestos abatement, on top of $586,300 for immediately needed repairs to Belton Court, $73,000 for repairs to the gymnasium, and $500,000 to demolish unwanted buildings on the campus.
At the time, Town Council President June Speakman said the town never intended to pay for a full restoration of Belton Court, but the report estimated that cost at $10 million.
Speakman had also said that another environmental issue is the unknown cost of dealing with 10 underground tanks identified in the inspection report.
Zion Bible moved to Haverhill several years ago. In January 2007, the Barrington property was listed for $13 million.