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CLINTON - With The Morgan School set to move up the road in fall 2016, the town is moving forward with planning for the valuable real estate that is the current site of The Morgan School on Route 81. Recently the Morgan School Development Site Committee awarded the opportunity to develop a plan for this 39-acre property to Mill Pond, LLC, of Essex.
Mill Pond has plans of creating a mixed-use center, which will include retail, residential, hospitality, dining, and possibly office space.
"This project will complement Clinton Crossings as well as the downtown area of Clinton," said Mill Pond Manager Henry Resnikoff.
Resnikoff explained that his firm has done similar projects involving "New Urbanism"-style concepts in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, other parts of Connecticut, and Washington, D.C.
"This parcel is a good opportunity. It is large enough to do a New Urbanism development, and the town is very interested in this concept of development, which is environmentally appealing with a 'green' approach," said Resnikoff. "This is a rural idea to leave a lot of open space and green space."
The Board of Selectmen has endorsed the Morgan School Development Site Committee decision to move forward with Mill Pond, LLC. The next step in the process is to negotiate a contract for sale for the property, which will include contingencies to protect the town and the developer, explained First Selectman Willie Fritz. Then the project has to go through zoning to obtain approvals for the town to be able to sell the property, then the Board of Finance has to approve everything, and last Clinton voters have to approve the deal at a town meeting.
"Realistically, nothing will happen on this property until 2017," said Fritz.
The town received just three proposals for the property; one was from a big-box developer.
"We don't need another big box in town, and we liked Mill Pond proposal; they have a good résumé: they have worked on several projects like this one, and we think this will work well for the town, with the inclusion of a destination hotel and residential space, which will promote people from this property to live in town."
Although a price for the sale of the property has not been determined, the hope is for the town to use the proceeds from this deal to offset a portion of the cost of construction of the new Morgan School project.
"We are really in the very preliminary stages of this project at this point," said Resnikoff. "We have several more steps to take before this project gets underway, but as of now we are moving in the right direction and looking to the future."
Fritz added, "This is good news for the town of Clinton."