Ansonia Aldermen have approved an agreement that lays out the terms for a developer to buy two crumbling city-owned buildings downtown.
The developer, Jerry Nocerino, envisions a 95-apartment complex with a microbrewery, stores, and office space at the properties — 497 E. Main St. and 153 Main St., known respectively as the Ansonia Technology Park and the Palmer Building.
Mayor David Cassetti said Tuesday that if all goes well with the plan, construction there could start within 16 months.
“We want to move,” Cassetti said.
In March the city asked interested developers for proposals to buy the two properties, which total about 100,000 square feet.
Aldermen chose the proposal submitted by Nocerino and his business partner, accountant Charles Smith, which outlined $9 million in work they have planned for the buildings.
Since then city officials have been in talks with Nocerino, who is also redeveloping several other buildings on upper Main Street, to iron out a written agreement to get the buildings redeveloped.
The Aldermen discussed the matter behind closed doors during their monthly meeting Oct. 13 — allowed under Freedom of Information law because they were discussing a real estate deal — before approving the agreement unanimously.
The 15-page agreement, posted below, lays out a timeline that says Nocerino and Smith’s company, Copper City Development, must complete “due diligence” of environmental, physical condition and economic conditions at the buildings by Nov. 3.
They then must submit a site plan for the redevelopment by Dec. 28.
City officials will then have 30 days to offer comments on the plan, after which Copper City will have 30 days to make changes and submit the plan for approval to the city’s land use agencies.
The agreement says the company will have 30 days to take title on the properties once they get approvals for their plans.
The company will also have to file a “Milestone Schedule” with target dates to complete various stages of the redevelopment.
The agreement does not list a specific purchase price for the company to buy the properties, saying those terms will be laid out in a separate, subsequent contract.
But the documents indicates the price will be “the Fair Market Value of the properties, less the cost for remediation due to environmental conditions.”
Sheila O’Malley, the city’s director of economic development, said Tuesday that the city had an appraisal done that pegs the combined value of the buildings at about $500,000.
Officials said the city doesn’t anticipate much in the way of environmental remediation during the redevelopment.
“The city has actually itself done environmental remediation in recent past years, so it’s likely not going to be much of a surprise or obstacle,” John Marini, the city’s corporation counsel, said.
Marini said that in drafting the document, the city wanted to avoid a repeat of a 2008 agreement to sell the buildings that fell apart in 2012.
“The whole idea is to protect the taxpayers,” Marini said. “We don’t want a situation where we sell the buildings and find out a year later that there’s no ability for the developer to move forward.”
One issue that has not yet been ironed out — what to do with the city’s Senior Center, which is currently housed in the Palmer Building.
Officials have in the past floated the idea of moving the senior center to another location or trying to merge with a center in a neighboring community.
But no decisions have yet been reached, Cassetti said Tuesday.