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Norwich - Patrons of the Southeast Area Transit buses soon will be able to purchase a snack, get a newspaper and coffee at the lobby of the new Norwich Transportation Center on Falls Avenue.
The City Council Monday approved a three-year lease with Waseem Khan of Norwich, who operates other convenience stores in the region, to operate a retail outlet in the 738-square-foot space adjacent to the lobby in the transportation center.
The $22 million regional transportation center, which serves as the SEAT hub, included retail space from the start, but finding a tenant proved difficult. The city received no responses to the first request for proposals prior to the June opening of the transportation center.
City Manager Alan Bergren told the council that the city received two proposals for the retail space now that the center is open. In addition to Khan, Vinod C. Patel of Voluntown bid to lease the space.
The lease with Khan provides for a three-year term with rent at $900 per month, $10,800 annually. Khan will have the option to renew the lease for two additional three-year terms. The tenant will pay utilities.
Bergren said Khan estimated he would be spending about $70,000 to outfit the space, while the city would pay only for a security gate across the entrance.
With the council approval, Bergren hopes to sign the lease this week and said Khan plans to start working on the space "imminently." The revenue from the lease will go toward regular maintenance of the facility, Bergren said.