November 26, 2012

Real estate panel explains its Memorial Boulevard School decision

Members of the city's Real Estate Committee -- Councilors Kevin Fuller, Ken Cockayne and Eric Carlson -- issued this statement today about their rejection of the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce proposal for the reuse of Memorial Boulevard School:
The city's Real Estate Committee at work.
The Real Estate Committee would like to respond to the Chambers comments on the rejection of the Memorial Boulevard Proposal. From the day we open the proposal we as a committee noticed that after the RFP went out, the wording was incorrect. We were looking for proposals that included lease and or purchase. The purchase was not included. At the opening of the bids there was a group interested in a possible purchase but we decided to hear out the Chambers plan. Some of the numbers that were put out by the chamber were a little misleading, for example they work off the number of 153,000 to keep the building running which is a number provided to us by the Board of Education.  If we do nothing then this is what it will cost the city. That number is what it cost when the school was full and the boilers were shut down to a lower temperature after 3 pm. The number to have the building empty until we find the right fit is more along the lines of 25 thousand to 30 thousand. If we take the 24 thousand the Chamber plan proposed that would leave the cities Burden of over 100 thousand a year for at least 3 years if not more. In addition to that amount the unknown was a big concern to us, The city would be responsible for  any capitol repairs and that  would be on the taxpayers of Bristol. It was this committees feeling that this was too much to ask in these economic times. We feel that we needed to go back out to RFP to solicit a more detailed proposal that would included independant  financing for the theater along with  parking plans and ADA compliant plans that would bring it up to code for their use.  The Real Estate Committee has often gone back out to RFP when we felt that we were not completely satisfied with the response. In this case we felt that the financial impact to the taxpayers was more than we were willing to take a chance on and decided to reissue the RFP with the inclusion of purchase.  The building as it stands will not be totally unused during this RFP process. We will continue to let groups use the building and theatre for community functions and activities.  We would also like to say for the record that during each meeting that pertained to this RFP the committee DID ASK QUESTIONS concerning the plan unlike being reported. We don't feel we missed a opportunity we feel we are allowing opportunities for more response's to this Gem and we are not putting a larger burden on the taxpayers of Bristol.
Councilman Fuller  Chairman
Councilman Cockayne
Councilman Carlson
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