Draft RFP in progress for Obici House

Published 12:03 am Thursday, June 18, 2009

The City Council discussed a draft request for proposals for the use of the Obici House and Carriage House Wednesday night.

The two buildings are located on the Sleepy Hole Golf Course, which was leased for 20 years to planning commissioner Ronnie Rountree at the June 3 meeting. However, the buildings were not included in the golf course lease. At that meeting, council members requested a draft RFP for the houses.

The Obici House was the former residence of Amedeo and Louise Obici, who left the home in their will to Obici’s business partner, Mario Peruzzi. After Peruzzi’s death, the home went through a number of sales until it was acquired by the city of Portsmouth, and then the city of Suffolk. The house has deteriorated after standing empty for several years.

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The draft RFP will ask respondents for a description of the proposed renovation and restoration on the properties, including cost estimates, preliminary drawings and a schedule for completion. The RFP also will ask respondents for planned uses, the degree to which the restoration maintains the uniqueness of the structure, and the degree of compatibility with Sleepy Hole Golf Course.

Councilman Charles Parr made it clear during the meeting that he opposes the sale of the land underneath the buildings. He asked for that to be included in the RFP that will be presented to city council at its July 1 meeting.

Councilman Robert Barclay IV was concerned that 60 days — the turnaround time suggested by city staff — would not be enough time for groups to get funding opportunities in line and come up with a proposal, especially in the current economic climate.

However, other council members, as well as City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn, said that the time frame needs to be respectful of Rountree’s lease of the golf course, and allow him to start on his construction projects.

The draft RFP will be discussed at the July 1 meeting.