Put On A Pot Of Coffee, Reading Material–Land Development Agreement For Theater Restoration

artist rendering Poli
Artist rendering of Downtown theater proposal.

City Council members have more than 200 pages of withering material to review that encompass a Land Development Agreement with Manhattan-based Exact Capital Group and affiliates to transform the shuttered Poli and Majestic theaters and 200-room Savoy Hotel into a $400 million multi-purpose performing arts center involving high-rise residential towers on several Downtown parcels including Main, Water, Golden Hill, Gold, Middle and Housatonic. See LDA here. Grab a mug of joe. This is the stuff that touches the pleasure center of development nerds and lawyers.

Monday night the City Council referred the document to the Contracts Committee for vetting. It’s possible the full council may act on the LDA in September.

tower rendering
Rendering of towers across from theaters.

The document spells out a litany of weary legal jargon, development language, timelines, responsibilities, parcel transfers, price determination and includes Exact Capital’s proposal that was accepted by city staff as the preferred developer. That document covers greater details of the development, approximated rental costs, conceptual financing, bank referral letters, renderings, images, teaming arrangements with Aufgang Architects and Building Conservation Associates.

The city’s development office has petitioned the Planning and Zoning Commission for sale approval of the multiple parcels associated with the project. It was on the most recent P&Z meeting agenda but did not come up for lack of a quorum. The total appraisal of the associated properties is nearly $5.9 million.

Two proposed 18-floor towers across the street from the theaters, with retail and underground parking, would become the tallest buildings in the central business district. The 16-story headquarters of People’s United Bank is the tallest.

Exact Capital Managing Partner Craig Livingston announced at a news conference in June that he hopes for a groundbreaking to take place next summer following an approved development deal with the city with financing in place. He said financing for the development is a work in progress.

Mayor Joe Ganim touts the development proposal as the most significant during his two tenures as mayor.

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5 comments

  1. Pete Spain was right. The council is in way over their heads they need to hire experts to guide them through this.
    There is no reason to rush a project like this.

  2. Without even looking at the draft agreement there a few obvious questions: (1) Was the agreement drafted by the City or the developer? (2) Who reviewed the agreement for the City? (3) Did the City engage outside firms to advise them concerning this project? If so, who?

  3. Phil
    I cannot answer with certainty but my guess is:
    1) The agreement was drafted by the developer.
    2) Ron Pachea. Mark considered him an expert in these kinds of matters. See Steel Point.
    3) No. The city said there wasn’t much time and all of a sudden we have a 200 page LDA.
    All good questions. Not good answers.

  4. “Mayor Joe Ganim touts the development proposal as the most significant during his two tenures as mayor.”

    Ganim2, looking back on Ganim1 achievements like ballpark, etc.says this Main Street project is most “significant” in his two terms. Now no real numbers of investments,by whom, when and what values will be created and become taxable fully by when, of course, but isn’t this ultimately what economic development means to a City. An increase in the taxable grand list that can add revenues to the City that relieves the current mil rate and individual burden without adding more services and more costs? So, perhaps Ganim2 should not claim significance before the numbers show up? Isn’t he about OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE and TRANSPARENT this time around? Anyway, let me nominate his pension bonding as most significant because he took a $350 Million obligation in 2000 and by borrowing caused taxpayers to spend $900 Million of significance to repay the bond!! And now in 2017 he proposes another bond, this time for ONLY $90 Million (but that is not a REAL VALUE at current earning rates) but should be 4-5 times larger perhaps and we can bond for another 28 years or so? Isn’t that significant expense to pay City and City Council approved decisions?? With a driver (or three, earning overtime?), a city car, and agreements on a questionable and personal benefits bridge he can pursue higher office on our nickel despite his private funding success his definition of “significance” is different from neighbors I have spoken with.
    Ganim deals in dreams and visions. That is fine for someone with follow through. But does he have that in his makeup? Last time he left us in the lurch for personal reasons,didn’t he? And we have had to deal with Mario’s leadership in the meantime.

    Now they have joined forces again, but it is clear that Joe wants to depart again, selling the Bridgeport vision to those around the State. Are voters as gullible and bedazzled as he expects our own City Council to be, compromised in so many ways as they are. Will they commit to spending “OUR Other Expense Line Item” funded by taxpayers to gain an independent assessment of this major project and the City part in the investment and return to the City?? That is what those budget dollars are for. Running for office? Show some curiosity? Time will tell.

  5. It is more significant than Harbor Point????
    I guess he forgot that that started during the Ganim Criminal Activity scheme. Or maybe he had no plans except to milk as much out of the project and never realized that a thing would be built.

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