After a long and very public negotiation, the town of West Hartford has struck a deal to buy the current site of the West Hartford UConn campus.
The price tag is $5 million, but there are some strings attached.
UConn feels like it is giving West Hartford a great deal, but in exchange for selling the land at a lower price, UConn will get 90 percent of any profit if West Hartford sells the land, which may make it more likely that this stays public property.
Still though, both sides say this was a difficult process that led to a fair deal.
The vote was unanimous on Tuesday night when the town agreed to buy the 50-acre chunk of land.
“We reached an agreement that's in the best interest of both the town and the University of Connecticut, and ultimately the people of Connecticut,” said UConn’s attorney Richard Orr.
Both UConn and West Hartford leaders support the deal, although council members disagree over the process.
Councilman Chris Barnes said he feels the negotiations were not initially transparent.
“The process there was something left to be desired with the process. It took us a long time to get here. It took a long time to get community outreach, and get the public involved,” Barnes said.
He said he feels the town wasn't open about a controversial proposal from a Chinese company to build an international private school, but Councilman Leon Davidoff said the council was simply examining every option.
“I think we operate in a very open government method here in West Hartford. I didn't sense that at all, I think as any proposal, it gets vetted,” Davidoff said.
The town agreed to pay UConn the $5 million by next October, and then West Hartford will decide what to do with the property.
“This is an excellent opportunity for our community to be able to purchase this property for $5 million. The opportunities for our community are endless,” Davidoff said.
“We're happy now that we have control over the parcel and we'll be able explore all of our opportunities going forward, for the best interest of the community,” Barnes said.
UConn and the Attorney General still have to officially approve the deal, but the school’s attorney said both of those will happen within the next few weeks.
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