Did The Summit Owners Overplay Their Hand Negotiating With Danbury on Career Academy? Mayor Esposito Says ‘Yes’
On Monday (2/28/22) Danbury Mayor Dean Esposito held a press conference to make a long-awaited announcement. At the presser, he and other local leaders announced the city's intention to purchase the Cartus facility on Apple Ridge Road and make it the future home of the Danbury Career Academy.
The Career Academy is both a location and a plan. The idea is to expand city schools to meet the growing population of Danbury while delivering exciting new curriculum opportunities to students. The Career Academy has bi-partisan support as an notion, all that was left to do was select a home for it.
Prior to choosing the Cartus land, the frontrunner location was The Summit on Reserve Road in the Hat City but negotiations failed at the table. While the choice of the Cartus building has been applauded by many, questions lingered as to what went wrong with The Summit?
Danbury Mayor Dean Esposito appeared on the Ethan & Lou Show on Friday (3/4/22) and we inquired where the breakdown was? We asked Esposito, did The Summit ownership group overplay their hand? Are they overvaluing their situation? The Mayor responded, saying:
"You know Lou, I would probably say yes to that question because our local representatives that were dealing directly with us, some very fine local people that were kind of in the mix of that project, they were representing the company, the sellers, the operators of that property and the owners. They were representing them very well but the reality was we got to the table and then some demands came out, and as you know, I'm kind of new at this Mayor's side of the issue so I'd been really studying up on that proposal and it was just not acceptable to me to put that type of liability on the taxpayers of the city. It wasn't acceptable. So, we went forth like any negotiation and unfortunately, they weren't willing to move on a couple of certain things. So, that why I removed from that negotiation."
We wondered what the obstacles were and what was the Mayor unwilling to accept and asked him to be more specific, he replied:
"Under the conditions, like I said, I was reading up on it, a lot more than I had in the past, we were poised to buy three pods. So, let's look at those pods as condominiums, and as you know, you buy a condominium and you do not own the land your condo sits on. And, there is HOA, and you've got common charges and a few of those things were, the prices and the potential liability that we had under those conditions was just not acceptable to me. Because we didn't have a definite number, like if something happened to the main building over the next few years, we'd have to kick in a piece of that and I just didn't think it was the right scenario for us."
Later, the Mayor made clear that he had no ill-will towards any of the individuals associated with the deal or The Summit and indicated the city will continue to aid in the success of the complex.
You can listen to our entire interview with Mayor Dean Esposito from Friday morning (3/4/22) about the city's move away from The Summit and onto the Cartus location on Apple Ridge Road, in the video player at the top of the page. We also discussed another contentious property in Danbury, the former Amphenol Warehouse property on Franklin Street.
P.S. I think our radio station needs a new home. That is one man's opinion and his name is me. What a shot in the arm that would be to have a Danbury address and actually have neighbors. I95 is located on the loneliest strip of road you've ever seen. While I have no problems with the Town of Brookfield, our section of Federal Road is as dead as they come. There are a few "factory-type" facilities near us, but the rest is abandoned and defunct companies.
Maybe we (I95) can aid the Summit Group in their search for new tenants? I wonder if being able to advertise their vacancies on a monster radio station (50,000 watts), and its digital properties could be of any benefit to them?
I'll extend the deal right now, a deal I have no business making. We will make the Summit the new home of the radio station (I95), its employees, and its business and we will do so, rent free.
What they (The Summit) can have is a negotiable amount of commercial air time to spread the word, that they seek tenants. They can also carry the cache of having a media company in their halls, they'll get to meet the celebrity guests that come through, and they can have lunch next to Ethan Carey in the cafeteria.
Book it. I need some company, you don't know what it's like being on this desolate road at 3:30 in the morning, all by yourself. It's a matter of time before a bear snatches me and drags me into the woods to use as a chew toy.
If anything ever comes of this and I don't get a piece of the money that may exchange hands, we are going to have a BIG problem. I'm a big idea man and a facilitator, I deserve my slice of the cheddar.
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