Norwich City Council agrees to transfer property lease to potential marina buyer
Norwich ― With little comment, the City Council on Monday voted unanimously to transfer the remaining years of a 99-year lease for the city-owned property beneath the Marina at American Wharf to a prospective buyer, Patten Marina Holdings LLC.
The company, which has a business address listed as a law firm in Bridgeport, is negotiating with current marina owner, Joyal Capital Management, to purchase the marina business, which sits on man-made land on Hollyhock Island in the center of Norwich Harbor. The marina lease includes land on the mainland, adjacent to the city’s Howard T. Brown Memorial Park.
The council vote also authorized City Manager John Salomone to negotiate an option for Patten Marina Holdings potentially to purchase the marina grounds in the future and negotiate tax abatements for improvements the firm might make to the buildings.
The resolution also allows for renegotiating portions of the lease that are outdated and to adjust timelines for improvements to the development.
“I believe Patten will breathe new life into the marina and the waterfront as a whole,” Alderwoman Stacy Gould said in the only council comment before Monday’s vote.
The marina was created in 1987 by developer Ronald Aliano, owner of American Ambulance. The city leased the property for 99 years. After Aliano’s death in 2009, his estate sold the marina to Joyal Capital Management LLC in 2011, and the city transferred the lease to the new owner.
During public comment, Norwich Community Development Corp. President Kevin Brown urged the council to approve the lease transfer, saying it would be a public benefit to the entire city waterfront.
“I think we have an opportunity to look to the future, and not get anchored to the past where things did not happen,” Brown said.
The current marina lease calls for payments to the city of $5,000 per year through 2026, with a lump-sum payment of $230,000 due in 2027. The lease then reverts to $1 per year through the end of the lease in 2086.
Joyal Capital Management purchased the marina in 2011 for $750,000 from the Aliano estate. After initial improvements, city leaders became disappointed in the lack of upkeep and improvements at the facility.
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