BERLIN – Elected officials have rejected two unsolicited offers for a portion of Heron Park.
Town officials said this week that two offers — one for $100,000 and one for $150,000 — were received and rejected by the Berlin Town Council late last month. Both were for Parcel 57, the not-quite 10-acre southwest portion of Heron Park.
Though council members on Monday stressed the need to move forward with developing a request for proposals related to parcels 410 and 57 of Heron Park, they did not pursue unsolicited offers made last month. Town Administrator Jeff Fleetwood confirmed this week that the town received a $100,000 offer for Parcel 57 from Aaron Evans and a $150,000 offer for Parcel 57 from Burley Oak Brewing Company. Matt Burrier, Burley Oak’s CEO, said the offer reviewed last month was actually the brewery’s second attempt to purchase the building. Burrier said Burley Oak initially offered to buy Parcel 57 last year after it started leasing storage space in the dilapidated industrial building on the site.
He said the brewery has a variety of ideas for the expansive space.
“It’s big enough to do one huge thing or a multitude of smaller things,” he said.
Burrier, who’s hopeful elected officials will reconsider the brewery’s offer, said the first priority would be cleaning up the building and making it safer. He says it’s currently a liability for the town because of its poor condition. He’s worried local kids are exploring the property and climbing on its roof after hours.
“Right now it’s not secure at all,” he said.
Another reason to clean it up is simply so people driving past on Old Ocean City Boulevard, perhaps heading toward Burley Oak, don’t see a derelict building, Burrier said.
Other ideas for the property include a car charging station, space for a small business incubator and a large solar panel installation. Burrier would love to see the facility serve as a low-rent launching point for local businesses, particularly those selling “made in Berlin” products.
“I’ve already spoken with a number of businesses that have shops around Worcester County and expressed interest in being in Berlin,” he said.
An early 2021 appraisal valued Parcel 57 at $100,000. It said the cost to improve the former chicken processing facility exceeded its value. The appraisal noted, however, that if the building was demolished the property would be worth significantly more. The town has applied for a strategic demolition grant and hopes to learn this fall if funding has been allocated for the project.