Durham Manufacturing offers to buy land, building from town

Durham Manufacturing offers to buy land, building from town



reporter photo

The Board of Selectmen reviewed an offer Monday from Durham Manufacturing to purchase the current location of town ambulance services.

Durham Manufacturing’s campus, 201 Main St., surrounds 205 Main St., where the Durham Volunteer Ambulance Corps operates. The company, which produces and distributes industrial storage and work products, has been operating in Durham since 1922.

First Selectman Laura Francis said Monday she received a letter from John Gowac, Durham Manufacturing CFO, on May 27.

The proposal states that since the town is considering a consolidation of emergency medical services to further south on Main Street, the company wants to purchase the land and 1,600-square-foot building to house maintenance vehicles and equipment. The company would acquire the building’s five parking spaces.

Proposal

The two properties share a driveway and the town building’s septic system is hooked up to the company’s leach field.  

“The time just seemed right to make on offer,” Gowac said Tuesday.

Under the terms laid out in the letter, the company would purchase the property at fair market value, based on independent appraisal obtained by town, and would donate an additional $50,000 to the town to assist with the consolidation.

The company suggested a deadline of Aug. 1 to accept its offer, with a proposed closing date by March 1, 2019.

Reaction

Francis said the offer was unsolicited.

“That was quite a surprise,” Francis said to the board, “and it’s something to consider,” adding that she’s waiting to find out how much it would cost to appraise property.

According to town property records, the land is valued at $99,000 and building at $112,500. The total assessed value for the entire property is $148,050.

The Durham Volunteer Fire Company is housed at 41 Main St. The town owns the properties on either side, 37 Main St. and 51 Main St., which are sites of vacant residences in the historic district.

The town purchased the properties with future expansion of public safety services in mind, Francis said.

Cost estimates

Francis said she asked architecture firm Silver Petrucelli, which has advised the town on other projects, to update the town on what renovations would need to be done to house just Durham Ambulance at 37 Main St. and a projected cost. 

At the end of last year, estimated renovation costs for just 37 Main St., which would have the majority of all renovations, would be about $1.7 million. To include 41 and 51 Main Street renovations would be $5 million to $7 million.

However, the site plan would need to be resubmitted to the Planning and Zoning Commission if just 37 Main St. was being considered.

Francis said the board might have to ask for flexibility on the Aug. 1 deadline, depending on the Board of Selectmen’s willingness to move the project along.

“There’ll be plenty of time throughout this process for public input,” she said.

The board will have until Oct. 1 to set the process in motion for a Dec. 4 referendum. 

“One of the questions that always came up as we were contemplating moving down there was what do with that building,” Francis said. “This solves the use problem and would put it back on the tax rolls.”

LTakores@record-journal.com

203-317-2212

Twitter: @LCTakores


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