Chinese delegates wish to “start right away” with plans for a nursing school to occupy several Fairfield Hills buildings, said Liping Wang, a realtor from Property World in Milford, and speaking on their behalf.
After listening to the brief presentation, Fairfield Hills Authority Chairman James Bernardi called it an “intriguing proposal.” Authority member Renata Adler said, “This sounds outstanding.”
Investors have financing in place, Ms Wang said, and wish to renovate buildings including Canaan House, Stamford, Stratford, and Newtown Halls for use as office space, dining, and eventually a dorm house. Students — both local and from China – would attend the school.
Members of the investment group, several of which were with Ms Wang Wednesday included Executive Vice President of Kai Lai Group Mr Jialin Wu, CFO for Kai Lai Group Ms Yi Xia, Assistant for President of Kai Lai Group Mr Ge Tian, and Mr Wuming Chang, Ph.D candidate at Brown University.
Organizers interested in this project are Central Economics and Business University in Beijing, He Long Jiang Business School, Tian Jing Business School, Herbin First Hospital, Herbin Second Hospital, Herbin Third Hospital, Liaoning University, Economics and Business School, and other organizations.
Speaking for the Chinese investors, Ms Wang told authority members, “They have the intention of starting a school here in the United States.” She admits that she had “looked everywhere,” and found and liked Fairfield Hills for a location, and open doors to local teachers and students. She liked the proximity of the campus to both New York and Hartford.
On her clients’ behalf, she said, “This is their number one choice.”
Chinese students would train in Western medicine, while additional classes would offer aspects of Chinese culture. Intended uses include a nursing school, a short term business program where students study two year in China, and two year here, a culinary training program, and a Chinese arts and culture training center, including water painting, oil painting, Wushu, Gongfu, Tai Chi, marshall arts, and more.
Authority member Thomas Connors asked, “You would renovate, not demolish?”
Ms Wang said, “We would keep the structure as is.” Her clients would also hire local labor, she said.
Member Michael Holmes also clarified that “dormitories related to a school” are permitted per the master plan for redevelopment. Residents in past years have been divided about bringing housing to campus.
Members asked that the Chinese delegation present a formal letter of intent, with as much detail about their plans as possible.
“Thank you, we will keep talking,” Ms Wang said.
Several minutes later, Mr Bernardi noted that Stratford Hall has been set aside until January for consideration for another proposal. The facility is also of interest to developer and resident Antonio St Lorenzo for use as a child-friendly restaurant as part of larger plans including a year-round, hydroponic green house.
Ms Adler, who in the past had stressed her strong disagreement with reserving a building for a prospective tenant, allowing him time to find backers and financing, said this week, “I didn’t feel we should have made that commitment, and I ask that we don’t make it again.”
Mr Bernardi noted her point.
Also expressing an interest in Stratford Hall with its high ceilings and open floor plan, resident Frank Navone would like to open a bakery business there. “It would be a nice enhancement,” he said. “I am here to express interest.”
Authority members also voted unanimously to use $5,000 of their budget funds to trim 11 trees and remove eight others near the municipal center. Tree Warden Michael McCarthey will place a purchase order through Public Works for the remainder of the $8,895 bid from Newtown Arbor.