June 8 – WILLIMANTIC – Under an agreement approved last week, the city council will give the nonprofit building affordable housing units in the Hurley / Murray building downtown.
The city council approved the agreement with Northeastern Connecticut Community Development Corp., 10-1, on June 1, with councilor Tony Fantoli opposed.
“We are looking for a tax deal that will ensure that we can actually cover our operating expenses after the renovation is complete,” NCCDC President Barbara McGrath, attorney, said during the pre-vote meeting.
The Murray on Main project includes the refurbishment of the Hurley / Murray building at 699 Main Street and the construction of 20 affordable residential units.
The 15-year agreement provides the following schedule, which NCCDC will be responsible for once an occupancy certificate is received:
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Building renovation plan receives tax relief
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– In years one and two, taxes are estimated to be paid in the current unrehabited state, which will be approximately $ 5,300.
– In the third year, NCCDC pays $ 8,000.
—Fourth year, NCCDC pays $ 12,000.
—Fifth year, NCCDC pays $ 16,000.
—From the age of six to 15, NCCDC pays $ 20,000, or $ 1,000 per unit. Windham Town manager Jim Rivers said former Windham Town manager Neal Beets has offered NCCDC a seven-year tax exemption deal that will be offered to large development projects in the corporate zone.
He said the council’s approval is needed to reach a longer agreement.
The NCCDC agreement corresponds to the terms Martin Kelly were offered for his developments.
Kelly owns the Foster Building at 664 Main St., the Pouya Building at 769 Main St., the Hooker Building at 819 Main St., and the Hale Building at 833 Main St.
Rivers said the city has received a grant from the state for facade work available on five buildings: Nassiff, Pouya, Hooker, Hale, and Murray / Hurley.
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A total of $ 50,000 was allocated for facade work for each of these buildings, for a total of $ 250,000.
As part of the agreement with NCCDC, the city will work with the non-profit organization on the logistics of using the facade grants for the Murray / Hale building.
This also includes a discussion about whether the city can grant the grant without an associated lien.
Rivers said the NCCDC project has been underway for years and the roof of the building has been replaced.
The agreement also states that the city will not charge parking fees for the Jillson property and also for the tenants of 699 Main St.
McGrath stated in a letter to Rivers dated May 19 that the information was “essential” to the NCCDC’s application to the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, which “will allow the capital to be invested in the building sufficient to complete the project.” .
“The city’s support will ensure our operating budget works, another requirement from the tax assessor and underwriters,” she wrote.
Councilor Tony Fantoli said he doesn’t want the city to give the NCCDC a tax break for not putting their own money into the project, noting that it was paid for through grants.
“The (Martin) Kelly project is entirely privately funded,” he said. McGrath said the NCCDC is a not for profit and has no staff. Board members are not paid.
She said any reduction would go into the building and help the tenants living there.
Kelly, on the other hand, will make money with a tax break.
“We don’t make money off of anything,” said McGrath.
Councilor Dennis O’Brien said he supported the agreement, noting that the building is a beautiful, historic building.
“It is another step that we must take, among the many that we have already taken, to improve the downtown area and make it more attractive not only to our own people but also to outsiders,” he said.
Councilor Dawn Niles said parking on the Jillson House Museum grounds, while free, is the preferred parking spot for special events such as concerts on the Shaboo Stage.
She said she was concerned that the deal could mean the city will provide free parking to residents who will be staying in the building.
However, Niles said she didn’t want to stop the project.
“I don’t want to prevent that,” she said.
Rivers said the transportation authority will determine if the parking lots are charged. “We don’t really give them (NCCDC) free parking,” he said. “It’s free.”
He said he didn’t think the parking lots were used much at night, except by the residents of the Hurley building.
Follow Michelle Warren on Twitter @mwarrentc.