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QUESTIONS REMAIN ON OFFER TO BUY MOTHERHOUSE

A deal to sell Amherst's historic St. Mary of the Angels Motherhouse on Mill Street could be reached within two weeks.

But right now, Amherst officials still have some issues with the offer on the table.

Amherst Town Attorney Phillip A. Thielman updated town officials Monday on negotiations with Peregrine Cos. of Syracuse, which wants to buy the sprawling, four-story building from the town.

Peregrine's offer includes:

Paying Amherst $2.3 million for the building and surrounding 8 acres.

Making annual payments in lieu of taxes totaling $30,000.

Leasing 10,000 square feet of the building to the Amherst Youth Board for $1 a year for 10 years.

Converting the building into no more than 150 apartments -- with rents ranging from $1,400 to $1,800 a month -- for senior citizens who need help with daily tasks.

Setting aside 10 of the apartments for low-income seniors.

Thielman asked the board's opinion on the proposal.

While town lawmakers weren't opposed to the offer, they had a number of concerns they want addressed before considering the contract.

Town officials want to see profit-and-loss projections from Peregrine, as well as financial information on the company to ensure it's fiscally sound.

"Show me the money," said Council Member William L. Kindel.

Amherst officials also want to know who will operate the facility. Peregrine indicated that a not-for-profit company would own the building and that Catholic Health Systems would run it. But at this point, officials said, Peregrine doesn't have a contract with Catholic Health Systems.

Furthermore, town officials would like Amherst to have some control over the monthly rent to protect the interest of median-income seniors.

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