The Newport City Administration has been discussing for several weeks the National Sailing Hall of Fame’s (NSHOF) acquisition of the Armory property on Thames Street. The acquisition price has been derived in consultation with two different appraisers who have done independent fair market analyses on the property to determine its fair market value price. The value takes into consideration the extensive repairs that need to be done to the exterior of the premises. The market value price also takes into consideration the fact that the building is encumbered with historical covenants with the State Historic Preservation Office on any exterior work to the building. Those covenants stay with the building regardless of who owns the property.

If the sale discussions with the NSHOF were to come to fruition, they would include, among other details, the City retaining the Maritime Center located in the basement of the Armory facility as well as the small beach area that borders the Center immediately on the west. The Maritime Center is an important City public asset and will remain so under any circumstance. The City would continue to operate that facility as a public maritime facility. The Armory building, with the exception of the Maritime Center, would be placed on the real estate tax rolls. The NSHOF is not an organization that would be exempt from local real estate taxes.

The sale discussions with the NSHOF do NOT include Ann Street or the Ann Street Pier. If, at some time, the City is able to construct the Ann Street Pier extension, it will result in a magnificent public attribute that will enhance the public boating experience along with the Maritime Center.

The NSHOF has presented a plan to operate a museum on the first floor of the Armory which is the street level on Thames Street and which is currently occupied by an Antique Center. The NSHOF would also occupy the small office suite on the second floor of the building which is currently unoccupied and in a state of disrepair.

If the City Administration and NSHOF are able to come to terms, the terms will be presented to the City Council in a public forum and the Council will discuss the issues and determine how to proceed.

– Office of the City Manager
   February 1, 2018