University of New Haven new owner of 21 condos at New London's Harbour Towers

New London — The Tagliatela family, who financed the construction of Harbour Towers, has donated 21 of its unsold luxury condo units at 461 Bank St. to the University of New Haven.

The property transaction was recorded in the city clerk’s office on Dec. 28. The Tagliatela family, doing business locally as New London Harbour Towers LLC, are longtime benefactors of the university. Stephen Tagliatela is a member of the university’s board of governors and the late Louis Tagliatela Sr. established the Tagliatela School of Engineering at the University of New Haven.

Louis Tagliatela Jr., a partner in the family-owned Franklin Enterprises, signed the paperwork gifting the 21 units in the 52-unit complex to the university. Franklin Enterprises is funding the construction of a proposed 201-unit condominium complex on Howard Street, known as Shipway 221, that is expected to break ground this year.

Franklin Enterprises Chief Financial Officer Steve Lopes said the company is in the process of two other very large projects, a 393-unit apartment complex called Canal Crossing in Hamden and Cape Arundel Cottage Preserve, which consists of 263 seasonal cottages near Kennebunkport, Maine.

"We have been involved in New London Harbour Towers for over nine years and determined that we need to focus on our newer projects," Lopes said.

He said his company is seeking a joint venture partner to work on the Shipway project.

University officials said they were delighted by the gift and have no immediate plans for the units, five of which are being leased, other than to be responsible landlords and maintain them for investment purposes.

George Synodi, a New London native and chief financial officer of the University of New Haven, said the school has no intention of housing students or applying for a tax exemption.

City records show that the unsold units are taxed collectively with an assessed value of $1.85 million. Taxes on the units for 2017 amounted to $79,760. Harbour Towers LLC had paid its first installment of $40,000, records show.

The units retain a tax incentive for would-be buyers thanks to a tax abatement agreement unanimously approved by the City Council in 2009.

That agreement, unusual for a residential development, allows new owners to pay 30 percent of taxes in the first year of ownership. Taxes increase by 10 percent for each of the next four years. Full taxes are due in the sixth year.

The abatement was approved as a way to attract higher income residents, people with more disposable income, into the downtown area. The so-called “benefit exemption schedule” runs out 10 years after the first unit is sold or rented. It appears the first unit was sold in 2010.

Synodi said the university welcomes the opportunity to meet with other unit owners in the nine-story complex.

“We share common interests, which is to stabilize and over time improve the value of the asset,” Synodi said. “The next step is to become knowledgeable about the property — talk to unit owners about their experience.”

The Harbour Towers project broke ground on what was in 2007 called City Gateway Commons, a project started by Anthony Silvestri and had included renovation of the Dart Building at 461 Bank St. and construction of an eight-story complex for 39 condos.

The project came to a halt in 2008 with the downturn in the economy and the Tagliatela family, which owns Franklin Construction Co. of New Haven, took over what would become a roughly $13 million project. The condos range in size and cost anywhere from $275,000 to $700,000.

Officials from the city’s tax office were not available to provide information on the total amount of taxes paid to the city from Harbour Towers.

g.smith@theday.com

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