Ansonia gets $40K in back taxes on former Farrel site
ANSONIA — The city will recoup more than $40,000 in back taxes owed on a former Farrel building downtown slated to become the city’s new police headquarters, as part of an eminent domain takeover.
That’s according to Corporation Counsel John Marini, who updated the Board of Aldermen this week regarding the matter.
“We will get $43,000 in back taxes from Shaw Growth for (the building) at 65 Main St. as part of the eminent domain agreement,” Marini said.
The taxes owed were comprised mostly of back property taxes, and also included some WPCA fees, Marini said.
The city in late March acquired the property at 65 Main St., along with the public parking lot next door, through eminent domain. Marini said the city received a certificate of taking ownership of the property from Superior Court in Milford, which allowed the city to transfer title of the former Farrel headquarters from Shaw Growth Ventures of New York.
Marini said the claim for delinquent taxes on the property being paid by Shaw “was incorporated into the eminent domain action.”
Marini, earlier this year, had said both the city and Shaw unsuccessfully tried to negotiate terms for the sale of the building, which resulted in the city going the eminent domain route. Shaw initially acquired the property through foreclosure.
The city has since deposited $1.85 million, which represents the average of two appraisals of the property, with the court . Marini said “the law requires that an amount equal to the average of the city’s two appraisals be deposited with the court at the beginning of the eminent domain action,” which was the $1.85 million. However, Marini said that doesn’t stop the property owner from disputing that value and providing evidence to the court that the value is higher.
“Shaw would have to prove a higher value with evidence from their own appraiser,” Marini said. “The court would hear from both appraisers and make a finding.”
Marini added that the city is “currently in discussions with Shaw Growth about resolving the purchase price element of the eminent domain action in a manner mutually beneficial to the city and property owner.”
The purchase of the building and renovation costs will be covered by a 40-year, $12 million loan the city received from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Vasilios Lefkaditis, a partner in Shaw Growth, was not available for comment Thursday. However, he had said blight liens on the building affected negotiations of the sale of 65 Main St., and he told the city he wanted relief from the liens as part of a deal.
Shaw also owns the adjacent former Farrel Process Lab on 501 E. Main St. which it wants to turn into apartments and retail space. That building is subject to more than $2 million in blight liens, however, almost all of which were accrued by a former owner.
The city plans to convert the 85,000-square-foot building at 65 Main St. into a new police headquarters for the Ansonia Police Department. The department currently continues to operate out of the cramped, 122-year-old former Larkin School on Elm Street, where there is very little parking and even less space to store evidence and detain prisoners.
The city plans to use 28,000 square feet of the top floor for the police department. There’s also been some talk of establishing a regional police, fire and emergency dispatch and training center on the second floor, but that’s something for the future, and if it happened it would require an agreement by all the Valley towns, city officials said.
Aldermen during their meeting this week appointed a building committee for the new police department project. The first meeting has been scheduled for 5 p.m. Oct. 18 at City Hall to unveil the design for the new police station. Named to the committee were: Sheila O’Malley, the city’s economic development director; Police Chief Kevin Hale; retired Seymour Police Chief Michael Metzler; Alderman Martin Dempsey; Public Works Superintendent Michael D’Alessio; Paul Heon; and police Officer Peter Lovermi Jr.