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Stonington residents to vote on tax breaks for Campbell Grain site redevelopment

Stonington — The town has reached a tax break agreement with the developer planning to construct an 82-unit apartment building on the site of the former Campbell Grain Building in downtown Pawcatuck.

That agreement, which fixes the assessment on the $32 million property at $2,054,915 over 10 years, will be sent to voters to approve at a Town Meeting set for Aug. 9 at 7 p.m. at the high school.

The town has said the proposed fixed assessment would save Winn Development $690,748 in taxes over 10 years. During that time Winn would pay $695,000 in taxes to the town. If the parcel remains vacant and undeveloped, it would generate less than $30,000 in taxes over the same period.

The agreement states that it is in the best interest of the town and taxpayers that Winn acquire and improve the property, but the project is economically feasible only if a fixed amount of reduced taxes is agreed upon over the next 10 years.

Town officials see the site as crucial for the redevelopment of the downtown but there had been little interest in the site before Winn's proposal.

The project will consist of a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units that will be rented at prices affordable to people who earn 30%, 50% and 80% of the area median income. The project also will contain market-rate units. Plans also call for extending the public Pawcatuck Riverwalk to the property.

Winn is seeking $20 million in funding from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority and the Connecticut Department of Housing through a competitive grant process. A contribution from the town improves Winn's chances of obtaining the needed funding.

"In summary, the project requires a fixed assessment to be financially viable and competitive for state funding resources. Without the Town contribution, in the form of the fixed assessment agreement, the project will not go forward, and there is a high risk that this vacant, unproductive lot will remain so indefinitely," the town meeting announcement states.

j.wojtas@theday.com 

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