MERIDEN — The city is negotiating with a local contractor for the construction of a new banquet hall facility at Hunter Memorial Golf Course.
The City Council approved bonding $875,000 for the project earlier this year. In July, the city put out a request-for-proposals for construction, and only one vendor, LaRosa Building Group, submitted a bid.
The city’s Banquet Facilities Review Committee has given the company feedback on the proposal and the company is expected to present a final plan at the committee’s next meeting on Aug. 12. The panel will meet in a closed-door executive session at the meeting to discuss the proposal, according to a meeting agenda.
“If they can get the price where we need it, and it's a solid building … the plan from there is to recommend it to the council,” Purchasing Officer Adam Tulin said.
The new banquet facility will replace a temporary tent structure, set up next to Violi’s Restaurant, currently used to host golf tournaments and other events.
Violi’s lease for operating the course restaurant is coming up and the city hopes to negotiate a new lease that would have Violi’s operate the restaurant and banquet facility. The city expects the lease will include higher rent payments, which will help offset the cost of the banquet facility.
The city also plans to use a $406,000 state grant to pay for the construction. City officials expect that with the grant and additional revenue the banquet facility will generate, the project will pay for itself over the life of the 20-year bonding period.
"When the city can invest in something that pays for itself as you go along and then, after the bonds are (paid), is a revenue stream for the city that's not property tax, some people would refer to those as 'no-brainer resolutions,'” Democratic City Councilor Brian Daniels, chairman of the council's Finance Committee, said in April when bonding for the facility was approved.
According to Tulin, LaRosa’s original proposal called for the facility to seat up to 160 people, with a total occupancy of 200. The city in its RFP required the facility be able to seat up at least 150 because a full golf tournament can include up to 144 players.
Tulin declined to offer further details discussions are taking place in executive session.
City Manager Tim Coon could not be reached for comment.