Sale of New London's Union Station finalized

New London The sale of New London’s Union Station was finalized Thursday, and while few details were provided, Todd O’Donnell, the station’s managing partner, said James Coleman Jr.’s LLC is the new owner.

O’Donnell, who owned the station with Barbara Timken, declined to say how much the sale was for.

Coleman is chairman of the National Coast Guard Museum Association, which is currently raising funds for the construction of a National Coast Guard Museum in downtown New London. Union Station is adjacent to the future waterfront location of the museum.

The Day tried to reach Coleman to comment, but he was out of his office Thursday afternoon.

The sale, originally expected to happen by the end of December, hit a glitch when Coleman’s attorney requested a 30-day extension, “which we granted them, to address some items in the 1975 HUD Urban Renewal Plan,” O’Donnell told The Day at the beginning of this month.

O’Donnell and Timken discovered through a title search that a certificate showing the completion of the 1975 redevelopment of Union Station was never recorded.

In 1975, the New London Redevelopment Agency executed agreements with a group called Union Station Associates, headed by George Notter Jr., for the redevelopment of Union Station, which at the time was part of the Winthrop Urban Renewal Plan.

The agreements came after much debate about whether or not to demolish the 19th-century brick building, designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson, and a successful effort by preservationists to save it.

On Jan. 12, during a special city council meeting held at the request of O’Donnell, the council voted to release the property from the urban renewal plan and agreed to an updated set of terms — including certain conditions related to the architectural preservation of the station, which allow the successive owners to continue to use the building as a train station though it does not require them to do so.

No clear plans have been declared for how the train depot will be used in the future. But Suzanne Simpson, director of special operations for the museum association, told The Day in December that the investor, now identified as Coleman, would own the building, but the museum association would be able to give input on future use.

j.bergman@theday.com

Twitter: JuliaSBergman

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