A large federal building occupying prime real estate in Portsmouth is getting one step closer to being turned over to the city.
After almost 15 years of talks with the city about the fate of the Thomas J. McIntyre building in downtown Portsmouth, the federal General Services Administration says it is planning to move out by next fall.
The GSA will leave the property to the city for free, on the condition the building’s exterior remains unchanged.
Assistant Mayor Jim Splaine says the long wait has left plenty of time for ideas to accumulate about what the city should do with the building and the more than two acres it sits on.
“Everything from arts centers, to concert venues, to an office area. Maybe some low cost housing for the downtown area. Possibly a public fountain. There’s a lot of exciting possibilities.”
Splaine favors an idea to reconstruct the original New Hampshire state house on a corner of the property.
He says it’s likely the building will ultimately be used for a variety of purposes.
At a meeting tonight, city councilors will review a draft document to begin the search for developers interested in partnering with the city to renovate the building.