New London council to take up plan to consolidate city offices

New London — The city will open bids Thursday from the two companies offering to lease space in anticipation of its fast-moving plans to consolidate administrative offices.

The bid opening will be followed by a special City Council meeting next Monday, when the council could decide to authorize the city’s Office of Development and Planning to start negotiations with one of the two competing property owners.

Fairfield-based Julian Enterprises and Old Lyme-based Readco have offered proposals for space as the city considers selling off at least three of four city-owned buildings. The move is an attempt to save money on yearly maintenance costs on the aging structures and avoid future capital costs, as well as to provide a single location for most city departments.

The city has asked for a spot with 30,000 to 35,000 square feet of office space and a 20- to 25-year lease with additional 10-year options, that would be ready for occupancy by fall in a location within one mile of City Hall.

The two options pitched on Monday are in stark contrast to each other.

One is a historic downtown bank building at 63 Eugene O’Neill Drive with limited parking but a mere block from City Hall. It is owned by Readco. The other, at 6 Shaw’s Cove, is a portion of a four-story contemporary office complex owned by Julian Enterprises with ample parking and is a half-mile from City Hall.

Representatives from both companies made presentations to the council this past Monday, promising alterations to the buildings to fit the needs of the city.

Council President Don Venditto said the council has reached a consensus that consolidation is in the best interests of the city but the numbers need to make sense.

“I think the consensus was: We do have to do this but we can’t do it blindly,” Venditto said. “We need to go through this exercise completely before we understand what the cost ramifications would be going down the path of leasing space versus the cost of staying in the current buildings.”

After the bid opening, Venditto said he expects Felix Reyes, director of the Office of Development and Planning, will help boil down the numbers into something easily digestible for the council, “comparing apples to apples.”

The justification for the move is that the city spends $313,000 annually on operating expenses at four buildings, including City Hall, the Richard R. Martin Center at 120 Broad St., Stanton Building at 111 Union St and finance building at 13-15 Masonic St., Reyes said. The city also has not kept up on maintenance, leading to an estimated $8 million in future renovation costs.

The Martin Center already is on the market, and the city’s Park and Recreation Department moved to the Stanton Building earlier this year.

Reyes called the move a “critical decision on the future of our facilities.”

g.smith@theday.com

READER COMMENTS

Loading comments...
Hide Comments

Stories that may interest you

Sacred art, as was saved from Notre Dame, 'is needed in the world'

On Monday, artist Grace Zazzaro was in her studio, putting the finishing touches on the icon she was scheduled to bring to King’s College later in the week. That's when she looked on Facebook and saw that the Paris cathedral was on fire.


Bearing the cross in New London

The Rev. Ranjit K. Mathews, second from right, of St. James Episcopal Church in New London helps Hildy Ziegler, right, and Will Cooper, back, carry the cross on Good Friday on the first leg of the Stations of the Cross in New London.


New London trash task force pitches alternative to yellow bags

A task force charged with exploring the best way for the city to change its habits and increase its recycling rates has some recommendations — and they do not include any yellow garbage bags associated with a controversial pay-as-you-throw program.


Groton, Stonington won't fund North Stonington Road Bridge replacement next year

Neither town has set aside funding for the bridge for fiscal year 2020, but are eyeing fiscal year 2021 as the year it could be replaced.

TRENDING

PODCASTS