A draft letter of intent (LOI) now in Fairfield Hills Authority members’ hands proposes a lease agreement between the town and proponents for the EverWonder Children’s Museum. Presenting the draft on March 6 were EverWonder board members, including Kristin Chiriatti, museum founder and president.
Recently, Land Use Director George Benson, Director of Economic and Community Development Elizabeth Stocker, and authority subcommittee members met with the expectation that EverWonder members would have the draft ready this month. Town counsel David Grogins has reviewed the LOI, Mr Benson explained to the small group gathered at a recent authority meeting.
“This is not a binding contract,” he said. Regarding the brief draft LOI, he noted, “This is a first step.”
The draft indicates that the lessee, Newtown Children’s Museum, EverWonder Children’s Museum, would like to lease Plymouth Hall, a roughly 54,000-square-foot space for 99 years with an annual rent of $1. Recent requests for proposal to lease Fairfield Hills buildings, which was approved by the authority, state that buildings can be leased for $1 with costs for razing buildings or making renovations incumbent upon the developer.
The draft anticipated additional rent for exterior or common area charges, and insurance and property taxes.
The draft states that the lease would be contingent upon the following: obtain all land use and municipal approvals, complete phase one of an environmental audit, commence construction within one year after lease execution.
The lease boundaries will be established ten feet outside the existing structure’s footprint, except where the lease line will encompass a new façade with an entrance canopy and stairs.
The draft proposes that the tenant will be able to use existing parking maintained by the landlord without additional rent. Additional parking solutions in the future will be mutually agreed upon, the draft states.
The tenant will be responsible for bringing utilities from the street to the lease line, and will assume utility costs.
Landlord improvements are to be determined. The tenant will be responsible for hazardous material abatement, selective demolition, and renovations to meet lessee’s requirements.
The landlord shall not enter another lease for the property, nor market the property for 18 months from the LOI commitment date.
With thoughts of 12/14 in mind, both the authority members, especially Chairman James Bernardi who does not want to inadvertently compete with efforts following the tragedy, and EverWonder members are aware that Fairfield Hills may be seen as a suitable site another school. The last portion of the draft states that in the event that the town determines, on or before May 15, to relocate the Sandy Hook Elementary School to the campus, the town may cancel the LOI.
Authority members plan to discuss the draft at their next scheduled meeting on March 20 at 7 pm in the Booth Library meeting room.