Owner of former Edgerton School in New London faces fines

New London - The city is expecting to collect thousands of dollars in damages from the owner of the former Edgerton School, who has let the 4-acre parcel on Colman Street deteriorate.

City attorney Jeffrey Londregan said Wednesday the city can collect $25,700 for the 257 days the property has not met maintenance codes. The city also can accrue more fines each day the property remains in violation of the city's maintenance codes, he said.

A Superior Court judge earlier this week ruled that the city can fine owner Peter Levine $100 a day since a cease-and-desist order was issued in March. The property is in violation of the city's property maintenance codes and has overgrown landscaping, broken doors and boarded-up windows. There is also an old portable classroom in the rear of the property that is in danger of falling down.

Levine said Wednesday he is trying to correct the violations.

"The city is concerned with removal of the temporary school building, and I'm looking to get that taken care of," he said.

Neighbors have long complained about the deteriorating property, which Levine bought from the city in 2007 for $350,000. It is located between Elm and Colman streets and Cedar Grove Avenue.

Plans over the years have included tearing down the 19,000-square-foot school and creating affordable apartments, and refurbishing the structure for offices and commercial tenants. Levine's latest idea, announced in March, is to develop a 60,000-square-foot regional sports facility with an air-supported dome structure with a synthetic turf playing field. Levine is seeking an equity partner to help provide financing for the proposed $4.65 million Whaling City Field House project.

But the property has remained vacant.

Levine also owns the nearly 1-acre abutting parcel at 413 Colman St. It is under contract, he said, with a third-party development company that wants to construct a 9,000-square-foot building for a national retail tenant.

Amber Properties, Levine's company, is based in White Plains, N.Y. He has completed several projects in the city, including converting the former SNET building at 73 Washington St. into 28 apartments, and developing the United Electric building at 13 Washington St. into apartments and retail space.

He also refurbished an office building at 194 Howard St., which was recently sold to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital and will be turned into doctors' offices.

k.edgecomb@theday.com

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