Vacant Southington college campus could become medical offices

Vacant Southington college campus could become medical offices

reporter photo

SOUTHINGTON – Owners of the Lincoln College property, vacant since the school left a year ago, hope to get town approval to use the campus buildings for medical offices.

Tenants, such as an adult daycare or a rehabilitation center, would help offset the property’s expenses and make it more marketable according to the owner’s broker. The 33-acre campus is in a residential zone. The town allows some other uses, including schools, medical facilities and veterinary care, with special permit approval.

Edward Robertson, the broker, said the property is under deposit. The potential buyer, who he didn’t name, has several weeks left to decide whether or not to continue with the purchase.

“We’re not going to extend contingencies. They’ve got to make up their minds,” Robertson said.

Whether the property sells in the next month or not, Robertson said it’s more valuable with tenants in place.

Medical services a natural use

Lincoln College of New England, a for-profit college, closed a year ago with students transferring to Goodwin University in East Hartford. The college had leased property from Briarwood Real Estate Limited Partnership. Company president Dennis Terwilliger said with the decline in college enrollment, it’s unlikely that another school would be interested in the site.

The campus has been maintained in “excellent” condition, Terwilliger said. It offered dentistry and mortuary science courses and buildings were constructed with those uses in mind. Now that it’s empty, those buildings could accommodate a cancer unit, rehabilitation center, veterinary hospital or other medical uses and even has hospital-sized elevators.

“It makes it a natural use for medical activities,” Terwilliger said. ”You can bring someone on a stretcher in that elevator.”

Sev Bovino, a planner representing Briarwood Real Estate, said the potential buyer may use part of the campus for a school but “wants assurance from the owners that uses other than a school can be implemented on this site.”

Bovino and Terwilliger wanted to get consensus from the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission last month on their plans during an informal discussion. Commission members didn’t comment on whether the proposal was acceptable.

“We look forward to seeing whatever you come up with and we’ll weigh it as it comes in,” commission chairman Robert Hammersley told them.

Attempts to sell

College property owners tried to sell the property by auction last year, but didn’t get a bid that met their starting price of $5 million.

Owners then put the property on the market for just under $4 million.

With tenants on the property and leases to boost the valuation, Robertson said the campus could be worth up to $10 million. The location was good with easy highway access, according to Robertson. He’s also had “really, really positive” conversations with town officials.

“The town is willing to work with us, they don’t want to see it vacant,” he said.
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