Phillips Academy has agreed to sell its former boathouse property on the Merrimack River at 57 Old River Road to The Andover Companies, accepting the private company's offer for $2.6 million for the 7.8-acre site over the Town of Andover's $520,000 bid, according to a press release issued by Phillips Thursday morning.

Phillips Academy’s Board of Trustees, in its role as fiduciaries for the academy, reviewed both the town’s offer of $520,000 and The Andover Companies’ offer of $2.6 million. Trustees voted to accept the offer from The Andover Companies, which is located next to the boathouse site,

The Town of Andover and The Andover Companies were the only two entities to submit bids for the property following a request for proposals issued by Phillips, according to the release.

In September, Phillips Academy, at the request of the town, declined an initial offer of $1 million from The Andover Companies to allow the Board of Selectman additional time to consider its interest in the property. Phillips had reportedly been waiting two years for the town to take any steps in pursuing the town. Head of School John Palfrey said he was pleased to give the town an additional opportunity "to express its vision for this parcel of land and to make a reasonable offer to acquire it," according to a release. Phillips had reportedly been waiting two years for the town to take any steps in pursuing the town.

Selectmen and the Conservation Commission met several times to discuss the purchase and develop its offer to Phillips. Several groups in town supported the boathouse purchase, with the Fire Department, Andover Youth Services, Andover Village Improvement Society among those advocating for its value to the community.

The release said Phillips has followed recent public discussion on whether town resources should be used to acquire the parcel for conservation purposes. “Although we regret that we were unable to reach an agreement with the Town of Andover, we are confident that The Andover Companies will continue to work cooperatively with town officials, particularly on matters of access to the town’s property,” Palfrey said.

For decades, Phillips Academy has allowed access via its property to the town’s abutting property along the river. The academy has encouraged members of the conservation community to discuss with The Andover Companies options that would preserve a pathway to the town’s property.

Staff writers are developing this story and we will be posted updates online as well as a story in tomorrow's Eagle-Tribune.

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