An­so­nia gets $40K in back taxes on for­mer Far­rel site

Connecticut Post - - NEWS - By Jean Falbo-Sos­novich

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.

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