South Windsor Town Council: Connecticut Studios project moving forward
By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Tue., Jul. 2, 2013
The South Windsor Town Council has again thrown its support behind Connecticut Studios, LLC, the developer that is working to bring a 495,000-square-foot movie studio facility to the intersection of I-291 and Route 5. On Friday, June 28, the council voted to extend the reverter deadline from Sunday, June 30, to Monday, July 15. The vote came after the developer, Connecticut Studios, LLC, announced that a power purchase agreement with Connecticut Light & Power has been reached.
The project proposal includes the addition of two 5-megawatt fuel cells. CL&P's agreement to purchase the power generated from the fuel cells has long been termed a "lynchpin" to the project, as this revenue alone will fund public infrastructure improvements that the studio will necessitate.
"It's pretty darn encouraging to see that they got the power purchase agreement all together," said Mayor Thomas Delnicki in a phone interview on Monday, July 1.
The special meeting on Friday saw the council vote to postpone the reverter clause – the stipulation in the contract that the developer must begin construction before an agreed upon deadline or risk having the 20 acres of land return to the town – before Sunday. The vote marks the fifth time the council has extended the reverter deadline since the initial Oct. 26, 2012, deadline was not met.
Councilors have not always been supportive of the project in light of delays, but "measurable benchmarks" in the project's recent history, namely the expressed committment of funding by First Niagara Bank in April, have renewed the town's resolve. "We'd always like to see it happen quicker. But progress is a good thing on this," said Delnicki. "Things are coming together."
The PPA further demonstrates that the long-awaited project will come to fruition, as well as legislation ensuring the studio will benefit from state tax credits. "The studio tax credits were extended by the legislature, and luckily the format that they chose fits the model that Connecticut Studios is tailored around," said Delnicki.
A "discussion and possible action regarding the reverter provision in the deeds to Connecticut Studios" was on the agenda for the June 28 meeting, and time set aside to continue the discussion during the Monday, July 1 meeting named it a "resolution deleting the reverter provision in Quit Claim Deed of Oct. 26, 2009," however Delnicki said that this matter was "not looked at, at this point" due to the fact that the reverter had been extended. He had also heard that building permits related to the project may be pulled in up to 30 days.
"It's good to see them make another measurable benchmark, and it's good to see the project moving forward. Again, not as quickly as we all want, but it is moving forward," said Delnicki.
While the milestones at the paperwork-level are encouraging, Delnicki will be more encouraged to see physical goals reached. "I can't wait for a real, legitimate groundbreaking, where we break ground, and the next day you see trucks pouring concrete and steel going up," he said. "That's what I'm really looking forward to."